Lacking Nothing: We Are Able To Suffer Trials With Joy
This is the first part of a series on the topic on how we need to face suffering/persecution in our lives.
The letter of James begins by telling us we need to have joy in something that normally will bring distress and anxiety. James says as Christians we are to expect and even welcome the trials in our lives.
James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
We as Christians probably question how can we actually find joy in suffering. After all, the two words seem like an oxymoron. To suffer does not bring joy and to know joy there is no suffering. So how does this make sense?
The Bible is teaching us in the area of suffering in our faith. As James explains further, that suffering is a source of joy for every believer. Let’s stop to understand what James is referring to about suffering. This suffering is associated with the trials the Lord brings us. Of course he is not speaking about all the different kinds of suffering a person may experience. Many times we suffer as a consequence to our own sinful choices. This would not be a source of joy, but hopefully it would be a cause for repentance of sinful choices.
What James is indicating is that suffering is for the sake of our testimony which can bring persecutions or other difficulties upon us to test our faith. These trials should be our source of joy, because they are devised by the Lord to bring opportunity. James says, the testing of our faith is to see if we are willing to stand firm with Christ. This is to say that trials are opportunities for us to reaffirm our commitment to our eternal future with Christ over our attachment to this world. And standing firm and enduring with patience these trials as they come we are lacking nothing.
As we spiritually and patiently endure these trials we gain spiritual strength that presents new opportunities in our walk. This endurance (patience) will lead to a “perfect” result, being complete, and lacking in nothing. But if we fail to endure in our patience it may lead to a loss of us being complete. We should ask ourselves, what is it that we will gain by our endurance through trials? Looking beyond the spiritual growth and blessings that come with our spiritual maturity during our time here on Earth, James is saying we need to look forward to the eternal blessings of rewards and honor in the Kingdom.
Therefore, to be perfect, lacking nothing refers to gaining a full reward. That reward we will not see right away in a moment or a season of our earthly lives. For our progress is only measured at the end and our reward is only assigned once we’ve run our race. We run our race until we die in the flesh or when we are gathered in the clouds with the Lord if still living.
As we encounter trials over the course of our life and even if we should stumble here and there at times, we still have a good incentive to get back up and continue enduring. Because as long as we live and until the end has come we are continuously growing. We have good cause to endure, since we are still marching toward our reward. Which is reason to count suffering as a source of joy, because it means our race has not ended and opportunity for reward remains open. If you have successfully withstood trials in the past don’t take your past success for granted. Since no one is without the need for more spiritual growth. Or if you have stumbled in the face of trials in the past, rejoice over new trials as a sign the Lord considers you worthy to prove yourself again. So don’t be discouraged by past mistakes, since no Christian arrives in Heaven with a perfect track record.
We are all sinners and that is why we all needed grace in the first place. James says, Every trial is a chance to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. We need to let Christ guard our reward. Not letting our rewards come into jeopardy by retreating from our service to Christ.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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