Consider it pure joy, my sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that
the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3
This week’s study guide only goes to verse two, but we need to finish the sentence. Why
should we consider it pure joy, whenever we face trials of many kinds?
As Christians, we don’t find joy in our trials alone. That’s purposeless. We don’t suffer because
we seek out suffering. We don’t resign ourselves and say that the world is full of inescapable
pain, so we may as well grin and bear it. Without verse three, our verse two is terribly out of
context. There is no joy in senseless suffering. But as Christians, we can rejoice because our trials are
achieving something for us. James says, consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces
If you are in Christ, your suffering isn’t senseless. Your trials aren’t without purpose. When you
respond to trials in faith, those trials produce perseverance. And that, James says, is worth
Do you ever wonder why God allows us to be tested?
When I think ‘testing,’ I automatically think of the Israelites in the book of Exodus. After they
were delivered through the Red Sea, the Israelites wandered in the desert. Without provisions,
they were hungry, and thirsty. They grumbled against Moses, saying ‘We should have stayed in
Egypt! We came into the wilderness just to die of hunger, and thirst.’ When the Israelites
grumbled, the scripture says that the Lord provided for their needs by giving his people specific
instructions “to put them to the test.” (See Exodus 15:25)
Why does God allow us to be tested?
Our testing not for God’s benefit. God doesn’t test us because he wants to see how we’ll
respond. He knows all things, so He already knows how we’ll respond.
It’s not because God is hoping we’ll fail. James doesn’t want anyone to think that God sends
trials to break down our faith. He circles back to this point later on in chapter one.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil,
nor does he tempt anyone. James 1:13
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth,
that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created. James 1:17-18
Why does God allow us to be tested? It’s for our benefit.
God already knows what’s in our heart, but when we are tested, what is truly in our heart comes
into the light. We find out what we’re really relying on. Is it God? Or, is it our own self-reliance?
When we’re tested, our ears hear the thoughts of our heart, because they surface as the words
on our lips. What’s the condition of your heart this week? When you’re tested, what is brought into the
light? Enjoy your time in lesson two this week. See you Thursday.