Verse
VERSE

James 1:2

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

English Standard Version 

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What Is the Meaning of “Count It All Joy” In James 1:2?

Buddha said, “pain is certain, suffering is optional.” Buddhists believe that trials and difficulties need not cause sadness nor suffering. We can detach ourselves from whatever causes us pain.

Pop singers and Darwinists would say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger." Many accept the reality of a physical world where only the fittest survive. In this world, survival demonstrates strength and gives a person more knowledge and power to thrive in the future.

Buddhists deny suffering. Many of us just try to survive it. What does the Bible say about suffering?

According to James, the Christian response is to “count it all joy!” What?! Is James agreeing with Buddha that pain is only what we make of it? Just put a smile on? No, we must read on.

James writes, “For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (1:3).

So our joy comes from knowledge, from something we know and cling to. What is it we know? That our trial is producing endurance in us. Is endurance something we really want?

James goes on to compare those who doubt to waves tossed by the wind. He compares those who boast about an easy, wealthy life to grass that withers under the summer heat. These images are the opposite of something steadfast. Waves and grass have no staying power. Trials, on the other hand, require a firm footing.

So, is James saying that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? Is our goal to become scrappier so we can win? No, he is not saying that either. For Christians, there is an entirely different dimension to life that neither Buddha nor our best motivational speakers comprehended.

For James, we face trials with the goal to “receive the crown of life” (1:12). This crown is promised to those who love God and who stand fast through suffering. What exactly is the crown of life? It is mentioned again in Revelation 2:10, where John encourages the church in Smyrna to face suffering with courage knowing that their faith will win them the “crown of life” (ESV).

We tend to think of crowns as the mark of a king or queen. However, in the ancient world, crowns were given as a reward for great accomplishments. Think of the laurel wreath given to athletes in Greece—like how today we award a gold medal to Olympians (1 Corinthians 9:24).

Those who love God know that God loved them first. God himself suffered on our behalf through the person and work of Jesus on the cross. The Bible tells us that “for the joy set before him he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). Jesus suffered with a goal in mind—setting us free from the power, presence, and punishment of sin so we could enjoy eternity with him. We can have joy because we know that at the end of all our suffering, we have eternal life waiting for us, which was not won by our endurance, but the endurance of Jesus on the cross for us.

For the Christian believer, any suffering we face isn’t a sign of God’s displeasure, and it’s not ultimate. It’s actually working for our good (Romans 8:28), to make us more steadfast, more wise, more whole.

Persevering through trials is also an opportunity to demonstrate our love for God. When trials come, they often test our love for him, asking us, “Do you love the Lord even when you don’t like what he’s doing in your life?” In the process, our trust in him is refined (1:4) and we will be rewarded with a eternal life when this brief life has ended. This is why Christians “count it all joy.”

As Christians, we don’t detach ourselves from this life or embrace suffering to prove our own strength. We stand firm through trials with the help of God’s Spirit. We persevere in loving God. We trust him to deepen and strengthen our faith in him through difficulty. We count it joy knowing that one day we will hear God say, “Well done!”

by Bibles.net

Compare Versions

ESV

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds

CSB

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials

NLT

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

NIV

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds

KJV

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

NKJV

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

FROM THE EDITOR

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we pray that the contents of this page would be your means to help our friend who has landed here to consider whatever trial they are facing as joy. We pray that you would give them patience to listen, and wisdom to understand your Word to us from James. Strengthen their faith as they hear your Word, and use the content they find here to help them endure. Most of all, increase their love for you, and show them that you are worthy of their trust. Give them wisdom to see your purposes, your care, and your goodness even in their pain. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

OPEN
YOUR BIBLE

Video: 21 Min
Quote

Spiritual joy is a
sweet and delightful passion,
arising from the
apprehension and feeling of some
good, whereby the soul is supported
under present troubles,
and fenced against future fear.

Quote

The Invincible Joy of Every Believer in Jesus

by John MacDuff

The night dews of affliction and disappointment may fall thickly upon it—the storms of sorrow may beat heavily against it – the winds of adversity may howl fearfully around it—but, like those fabled lamps of which we read, that, century after century, illumined the sepulchers of the east— burning with calm and steady light, amid the desolation of all earthly things— unchanged and unextinguishable; so does this joy— this living spark struck off from the great source of light and life—outlive all deaths, all changes, until it accompanies the freed spirit of the believer in whom it dwells, back to those abodes of joy from whence it came.

See quote source
Image

Rejoice in the Lord
always;
again I will say,
rejoice.

Philippians 4:4 ESV

Pop

JOY INVINCIBLE

by Switchfoot feat. Jenn Johnson
Quote

Trials come
to prove and improve us.

Augustine
Quote

What Reason Do I Have to Rejoice in My Trial?

by Jerry Bridges

Paul and James both say that we should rejoice in our trials because of their beneficial results. It is not the adversity considered in itself that is to be the ground of our joy. Rather, it is the expectation of the results, the development of our character that should cause us to rejoice in adversity. God does not ask us to rejoice because we have lost our job, or a loved one has been stricken with cancer, or a child has been born with an incurable birth defect. But he does tell us to rejoice because we believe he is in control of those circumstances and is at work through them for our ultimate good.

See quote source
Video: 7 Min
by John Piper and Trip Lee at The Gospel Coalition

Hymns

When Trials Come

by Keith & Kristyn Getty
Quote

The same storm
that judges
a non-believing man
may be the crucible
of testing and/or
chastisement
for a true Christian
and will toughen
and purify him
for the future.

Verse
1 Peter 1:6-9 ESV

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

70’s | 80’s | 90’s

What Kind of Joy

by Steven Curtis Chapman
Article: 10 Min

Fortified by Fire: How Suffering Makes Us Strong

“There never was a child of God whose suffering was for naught, nor will there ever be.”

by Scott Hubbard at Desiring God

Verse
Romans 5:3-5 ESV

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Article: 5 Min

Trouble: Faith’s Best Friend

by John Piper at Desiring God

Quote

All the powers of darkness
which are opposed to right and
truth are sure
to light against
our faith,
and manifold temptations
will march in their legions
against our confidence in God.

Charles Spurgeon
Verse
1 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV

We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them.

Quote

Why Our Faith Needs Testing

by John Piper

Strange as it may seem, one of the primary purposes of being shaken by suffering is to make our faith more unshakable.

Faith is like muscle tissue: if you stress it to the limit, it gets stronger, not weaker. That’s what James means here. When your faith is threatened and tested and stretched to the breaking point, the result is greater capacity to endure. He calls it steadfastness.

See quote source
Quote

Adversities
do not make
a man frail.
They show what
sort of man he is.

Thomas à Kempis
Article: 8 Min

Patience is a Virtue Produced by Trials

by Charles Spurgeon, adapted by Bibles.net

Infographic

How Do We Endure Trials?

Pastor John MacArthur helps us see how the book of James answers the question: How do we endure trials today? Feel free to save or share this graphic if you find it helpful!

Article: 25 Min

Trials: When the Healing Doesn’t Come: The Key to Perseverance

Discover the reason for trials, the appropriate responses to trials, and the result of trials.

by John MacArthur at Grace to You

Image

I consider that our
present sufferings
are not worth comparing
with
the glory
that will be
revealed
in us.

Romans 8:18 NIV

Children’s

James 1:2-3 (Pure Joy)

by JumpStart3
Messages: 28 Min

When Trouble Comes

by K. Marshall Williams

Gospel

Count It All Joy

by James Bolton
Verse
1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Quote

The Relationship Between Trials and Temptation

by Charles Spurgeon

The natural tendency of trouble is not to sanctify, but to induce sin. A man is very apt to become unbelieving under affliction: that is a sin. He is apt to murmur against God under it: that is a sin. He is apt to put forth his hand to some ill way of escaping from his difficulty: and that would be a sin. Hence we are taught to pray, “Lead us not into temptation;” because trial has in itself a measure of temptation, and if it were not neutralized by abundant grace it would bear us towards sin. I suppose that every test must have in it a measure of temptation.

See quote source
Quote

The devil tempts,
that he may deceive;
but God suffers us to be tempted, to try us.
Temptation is a trial
of our sincerity.

Thomas Watson
Video: 18 Min
by John Piper at Desiring God in his "Look at the Book" Video Series
Verse
James 1:12 ESV

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.

Messages: 54 Min

The Purpose of Trials

by John MacArthur at Grace to You

Verse
Acts 14:21-22 NIV

They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Contemporary

Blessings

by Laura Story
Messages: 65 Min

Just Ask… But Be Ready

by Jay Thomas at Chapel Hill Bible Church

Quote

Here's How We Learn to "Count It All Joy"

by Charles Spurgeon

By degrees we learn to end our quarrel with God, and to desire that there may not be two wills between God and ourselves, but that God’s will may be our will. Oh, brother, if your troubles work you to that, you are a gainer, I am sure, and you may count them all joy.

See quote source
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