I. The Reality: Life is filled with trials of various kinds.

  • Not if, but when
  • two possible meanings of trials: “inner enticement to sin” or “difficult circumstances”
  • Meet - “fall into the hands of; swallowed up”
  • Tragedies, pain, suffering of various kinds
  • How are you going to respond? Don’t look merely at the immediate problem but the end result God is going to bring about.

II. The response: We must choose to face life’s trials with active intentional joy.

  • Not a fake plastic smile, but a deep trust in Gods plan and purpose.
  • All joy, in the sense of pure and undefiled when the trials come. Real, no filler.
  • A reaction of pure joy is unnatural here
  • James does not say that trials are joy. We’re supposed to consider them joy and count them as joy but it’s not to deny the hardship of reality but to not become skeptical and bitter, but to trust God’s purpose and plan.
  • Do I trust that God knows what he doing?
  • These trials have the purpose of bringing something better to pass.

III. The reason: Life’s trials serve the beneficial purpose of developing steadfastness in us.

  • The Bible never says that bad things are good, but he does use them to serve good purposes.
  • Cf. Romans 8:28
  • At a minimum, these trials bring about steadfastness (perseverance). We “know” this is an experiential way. He stands behind every trial and test. If you don’t know this then your joy will nonexistent or fake.
  • If your struggling through this trial, the answer is not to try to be more joy but to try to be more “know.” Joy is the fruit of faith and knowledge of God.
  • Arabic proverb: “Sunshine alone produces deserts.”
  • Suffering has a strengthening influence on our live.
  • Cf. Romans 5:3
  • Psalm 12:6 - refined and purified, a blacksmiths word about the producing something useful out of simple metal. This is what God is doing with us in trials.

IV. The Result: we must let life’s trials develop us into the complete people God wants us to be.

  • Not some kind of sinless moral perfection, but something that is finished or fully developed.
  • Analogy of baking a pie to completion.