James 1:2-4 NKJV – Count it all joy

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Oh, what joy there is when the true understanding of this scripture passage resides deep in your heart.  This is a call to understand suffering from the viewpoint of confidence that God is sovereign.  The trials spoken about here are various kinds of circumstances, often related to hardship and persecution.  The real tough stuff in life.  Trails can be considered pure joy only when there is a knowledge that they are designed by God for His purpose.  They are our tests of faith given to us in order for us to develop perseverance.  And perseverance is what we need to possess to endure the evilness of this world.

I’ve heard pastors preach that we all ought to expect to suffer.  It’s inevitable when we call ourselves believers.  I will tell you, though hard to hear, it is the truth.  To believe in Jesus, the Son of God is not to evade suffering; rather it is to face suffering with a new hope.  Suffering will equip us for more effective service.  Suffering will draw us closer to Jesus.

There have been some suffering that I have endured that I pray no one else has to endure.   Some of that suffering was caused by medical and health issues.  And during those times I remember crying out to God.  Sometimes weeping into the night because of the physical pain. My prayers were not to ask why, but to ask for it to end.  Praise be the Name of God, He did cause it to end and God also used me and my suffering and pain to help others endure the same kind of suffering and pain.  I could not have been able to pray with or bear the burden of someone else who suffered had I not suffered first.

Isn’t that just like Jesus and His incredible love for us?  How could we know our need for Him had He not suffered and died at the Cross?  Jesus continues to this day to use us in our suffering to bring others to an understanding of Him and His love.  Suffering is the price of godliness.  “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2 NKJV)  Suffering is a condition of service.  “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” (Colossians 1:24 NKJV)  Suffering draws believers to the Lord.  “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 NKJV)

Friend, patience is an aspect of faith and hope.  “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8 NKJV)  Let us allow patience to have its perfect work.  That when we are called home to be with the Lord, we will be made perfect, lacking nothing.

Dear and precious Lord.  Help us understand that in our sufferings we can count it all joy.  Knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience.  Help us understand that through Your love for us, our patience is made perfect.  Help us endure so like Paul we can say I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.  Thank You for Your everlasting love and care for us.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

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