Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2-3)
If you’ve been a Christian and gone through trials, you’ve probably been quoted this verse before. Most of the time the focus is on counting it joy when you meet trials, but today let’s focus on the second half of the verse and the reason in which we can count it all joy.
“for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:3) That word for “produce” means to work fully and to accomplish; and the word for “steadfastness” means a cheerful or hopeful endurance and patience. When we go through trials, it’s testing and refining our faith to accomplish an endurance in us.
Why is steadfastness anything worth producing through the testing of our faith? James 1:4 and James 1:12 tells us this clearly:
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:4)
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
With every trial that you face, there is a beautiful refinement going on in you. When the steadfastness that is being produced in you has its full effect, you will be perfect, complete, and not lacking in anything. The reason the one who remains steadfast is blessed is because in the end, it’s the steadfast ones who love God who will receive the crown of life.
In Revelation 2, the letter to the church in Smyrna, the only church in Revelation who did not receive a rebuke, it says,
“I know your tribulation…Do not fear what you are about to suffer…Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” (Revelation 2:9a,10a,11)
The end goal is not steadfastness itself, it’s the full effect, the completion of our faith in Christ Jesus, and the crown of life that awaits the faithful.
The trials that you’re facing right now have a purpose and are working something beautiful in you. Even if it is something that began from evil and was inflicted upon you, God is using it for your good, and as the Author of your faith, He will bring it to completion.
The refining fire hurts as it burns away impurities in us and softens us to a place of being shaped by our Maker, but it’s working its way to a full effect in you. That day when you take your last breath here on earth and you open your eyes to see Jesus, the steadfastness, that hopeful endurance that was produced in your trials will in no way put you to shame (Romans 5:1-5). On the contrary, you will receive the crown of life which God promises you.
All the pain, the tears, the sleepless nights, the bad memories, the times of weariness, it will all have been worth it all, because Jesus is worth it all.
As you face today and the days to come, I encourage you to put on the lens of remembrance that your endurance through your trials is not meaningless, it has purpose for eternity to come. That, my friend, is reason to count it all joy today.