Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2–4, ESV.
While our days are not exactly the same as the trying days of persecution that James’s first readers were facing, these are indeed trying days. Thus, we are to “Count it all joy.” Of course, that does not mean that we rejoice because we enjoy sickness or death or financial turmoil. It means that our state of being is one of joy in the face of trying days.
How can that be? James explains. He goes on to tell us that we can count it all joy by remembering what God is doing in the lives of His saints during these days. In trying days God tests our faith. This is not a test to see if faith exists. James is writing to Christians and all Christians are only Christians through faith in Jesus. Instead, this is a test that God uses to improve our faith—to produce steadfastness. When real faith faces trials, faith is driven to cling more to the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Faith that clings more to Jesus is stronger faith!
Can you see that? As trials bring about steadfast faith, God is at work in you making you like Jesus—"perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." We call this sanctification.
These are trying days. Nonetheless, God is at work in these days, in His people, making us more like Jesus. Let us rejoice in that!
My prayer this morning is that you can see this to be true in your life and that you will rejoice in the Lord.