James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve [Hebrew] tribes [scattered abroad among the Gentiles] in the dispersion: Greetings (rejoice)! Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. Jas 1:1-4
James begins in humility, without claiming the fact that he is Jesus’ half-brother, but rather a servant of Him. (I’ve read right past that before.) He watched his brother die a brutal death on the cross and still he displays such confident assertion in remaining faithful to God under the extreme weight of pain and affliction. Faithful endurance refines and perfects. The result brings fullness and peace. The gaping hole is filled. This is the power of the Gospel in a nutshell. Makes no sense, but is no less true.
I had the opportunity to show kindness and love in the midst of a fiery trial last week. I was hit head on with something that broke my heart. I endured in the moments that followed, not running, not yelling, not escaping. I fell into a trial, and I stayed with it, with Jesus. I experienced the perfect result of endurance. God is amazing and trustworthy, and yet I am wise enough to heed the words of Jesus in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]” This was not a one and done victory. I will encounter various trials to come. And each time I must not sink into despair or anger, but because of God’s perfect love I can endure, with kindness. I can count it all joy, rooted not in my circumstances, but in the power of Jesus. His compassionate endurance on the cross is my example of what love looks like.
Lord, Father, Holy Spirit,
Come and let Your perfect work refine me. Help me to count it all joy. Grant me wisdom and strength to be loving and kind to those who need it. No matter what trials may come. Amen.