06.12.07 (original entry)
["James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."]
Jewish Christians were being killed or imprisoned for their faith, and literally were running for their respective lives. It is in the midst of this great persecution that James writes his letter of encouragement. He writes as a servant to Christ in a hostile environment. Yet, against the backdrop of hostility and persecution, James speaks of joy. Pure joy. There is no other way to describe the redemption of God's children, for they were lost but are not found; for they were scattered, and yet are interwoven by their common faith. For with the trial comes the test. For with the test comes the faith. For with the faith comes the perseverance. For with the perseverance comes the maturity. For with the maturity comes the fulfillment. One is "filled" with the sufficiency of God. For their is no trial for which God is not abundantly adequate and dependable. It would be a lazy father indeed that did not focus on the maturity of his children. God, the model Father and provider, is intensely focused on the maturity of His children, for it is in this maturity that we are able to worship Him more purely, and it is in this purity of worship that we give Him His rightful glory. The trials will be "of many kinds," for the eternal relationship will be deep and rich. This progression, this maturity, shall continue for all eternity. No trial is too costly if eternal maturation is the bargain. The sobbing will end. The redemption will continue. Consider it pure joy.