Character Over Comfort
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” -James 1:2
James wrote to “the twelve tribes” who were scattered outside the promised land and going through tough times. Being Jews, they were rejected by Gentiles, and being Christian, they were rejected by their own people. The persecution was intense, but they also had another issue, a larger issue that James sought to address. What was their issue? Spiritual immaturity. There was a lack of spiritual growth. These Christians simply failed to grow up.
One area they lacked spiritual growth was in the area of dealing with trials & temptations. So, James wasted no time and immediately commanded the church to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Notice it says, “not if”. Trials are a part of every believer’s life, because God will test the faith of all His children. Faith isn’t worth much if it hasn’t been tested and there are “various” trials, which means many-colored trials. God knows exactly what color trial you and I need. He is in control, and that is important to understand if we want to be mature Christians.
Now there is a key word in this verse that we need to understand this commandment. This key word is “count”, and it means to evaluate, to consider, and to regard. This is important to know, because we learn that it has more to do with our attitude when we face trials. We are not commanded to be smiling and enjoying every trial, but we are commanded to make a deliberate decision to experience joy.
Now for us to have this attitude of joy, we must value character over comfort, if the goal of my life is to be comfortable, then I’m going to be upset most of the time when a trial comes. But if the goal of my life is to have character, to be Christ-like, then I’m not going to be upset, because I know that God is wanting to purify my faith, and He is transforming my character.
Are you currently facing a trial? Then rejoice, because God has allowed it. Rejoice because God is wanting to purify your faith. Rejoice because God is wanting to teach you something, building your character, so He might work through you. Count it all joy!
Grace be with you,
Pastor Danny Gamez