“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2).
James was the brother of Jesus, but never believed in Him as the son of God until after His resurrection. He became a leader in the church in Jerusalem, and eventually become the head of the church there. In these two verses he speaks to the Christians who face persecution because of their beliefs, and he encourages them to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
A trial tests strength. For the early Christians and for us, it tests our faith, our honesty, and our spiritual ability to withstand the world's onslaught. You don't know how strong or how weak your faith might be until it is tested by a trial. James declares that our lives are filled with trials. We may be plagued by illness, or a financial crisis. We may face the death of someone close to us, or great loss in other ways. Someone may take advantage of us, and perhaps we may be falsely accused of something we didn't do.
The phrase “whenever you face trials” reveals that trials are just unavoidable. You can’t escape them. The Lord does not insulate us from the trials of life. He allows them to shape us and, hopefully, make us stronger. Trials hit everyone‒believer and non-believer alike. Look at Job. He believed in God, and was a righteous man. God allowed Satan to test Job, and his whole life was a massive trial. Trials can make us bitter or they can make us better. Job would not turn against the Lord no matter what came against him.
Job's attitude during his horrendous suffering was paramount for his faith in God to flourish. Your attitude in the midst of life's trials is paramount for you to spiritually become the person God intends you can be. You can just endure, or you can consider whatever you face as “pure joy”. That kind of attitude makes the best of whatever happens. It sees positive whenever faced with the negative. It believes no matter what it hears or sees. It believes in the potential that only God sees. That kind of attitude turns what Satan can use to destroy you into what God can use to prosper you.
“Consider in pure joy,” James writes, “whenever you face trials.” God wants you to spiritually grow and realize that trials can actually produce joy of the purest kind. Perseverance is your reward, and faith is your strength. It is a joy nothing can destroy, and it is a joy that lacks nothing (James 1:4).