Consider it *All* Joy?

January 22, 2014

by Norm Miller

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” James 1.2.

Yeah, right!

Isn’t that how we secretly react to this verse?

Who counts it all joy to stare down cancer, deal with a recalcitrant teen, or work for an over-bearing boss? I’m not sure who truly does, but I know who should – all God’s children. The context of the verse says a joyous reaction to troubles tests our faith, produces endurance and brings us — God’s children — to maturity in Christ.

The verse is as interesting as it is challenging. The word translated consider is a verb meaning — do it now and once for all; so, there’s no room to decide when we’ll be joyful or which trials we’ll endure joyfully. Just make up your mind now to be joyful always, come what may, rain or shine.

The word encounter means, literally, to fall into, just as the man who fell among the thieves in Luke 10.30. As the thieves sought to rob the man, so do trials and tribulations attempt to steal the joy we have determined to express in the face of such theft.

The word translated various has a connection to the Old Testament word that describes Joseph’s many-colored coat. Have you ever thought of trials as being multi-colored? Well, have you ever been blue with sadness? Ever been green with envy? So mad you saw purple? What about the yellow trials of cowardice when trying to witness for Christ? The black of guilty sin?

“What can wash away my sin? / Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Now there’s a color that was spilt in the trial, endured the trial and conquered the trial. And it is still powerful today, the red blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from sin and brings joy.