Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4
Let me start by saying what this passage is not saying. It’s not saying, “do your best to have joy if you have troubles”. The key to interpreting this passage I believe lies in the words knowing and so. Let me explain.
You see God has asked you (believer) to walk by faith not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). This means you are to walk looking at objective truth as revealed by God in Scripture (Heb 12:1-2). There are two commands here (imperatives), consider and let. How are these two commands compatible with our faith walk and not up to us to produce it? God never commands something He does not provide the means by which to carry it out. If you see a command, you’ll find the grace taught which is to be the very strength He provides through His Spirit.
Let’s get back to our keywords, knowing and so. There are two aspects of God’s grace afforded to the believer here conditioned upon his counting on it and letting it…The first grace truth: the testing of your faith produces (results in) endurance.
ENDURANCE – ὑπομονή
The second word, so leads us to the next grace provision…
PERFECT – τέλειος
COMPLETE – ὁλόκληρος
The ultimate goal is to be fully matured, completed. Be glad, trials produce endurance which in turn produces maturity. We need to know this is the end goal of trials as a child of God. Our responsibility is to know and count on this truth by faith, let God with the results. So rest, let the joy set in, focus on knowing what God is doing in you through the testing of your faith. The harder the trial, the greater the test, the greater the assurance that you Father’s hand is in your life. God deeply desires you through Christ to conform you into the likeness of His beloved Son who incidentally happens to be the author (endured the cross) and perfecter (sits at His right hand) of [the] faith.
Since our faith has been placed on the reality of a finished work which is the power of God unto eternal salvation, it continues at work in us. Our new standing with Him is perfect, and we are found in Him. When we walk by faith we are counting on the facts of what we know Jesus Christ did (He took us to the cross with Him, and we rose with Him) and what He has declared us to be- (just) in Him. We walk in light of our identity in Him, knowing that nothing can separate us from His love in Christ Jesus. So when trials come, we embrace them with joy and expectation, knowing that God allows trials so that our faith should be tested and refined, producing endurance (patient continuance) which in turn results in a perfect (mature) man (or woman) to be found lacking (wanting) in nothing.
Growing up doesn’t always come automatically. Some things have to be learned by personal, active dependence in God. Part of growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is that we walk by faith through the trials. If we learn to walk knowing that God has not only permitted the current situation but will use it for good to His glory, gives me joy, which is an aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,2 Peter 1:22
Though trials are guaranteed to come your way because God wants to grow you, maturity depends on whether you choose to walk counting by faith or not. You can focus on the trials or rest in what you know is true because your Father let you in on what He’s doing. It’s a joy to be able to count on this to be happening in your life. Knowing this, what will your mind be set on today? More importantly, on who?