“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.” (James 1:2-4, NIV)

D.A. Carson comments:

“[W]e should rejoice because we know that when our faith is tested, the result is perseverance. As an athlete endures in order build up endurance, so a Christian perseveres under trial in order to build up perseverance. Perseverance contributes something important to our character. It ‘must finish its work that [we] may be mature and complete, not lacking anything’ (1:4). The alternative is a personality that may love the Lord when things are going well, a character that is bold and happy on bright days in the Spring, but knows little of steadfastness under duress, of contentment when physical comforts are withdrawn, of quiet confidence in the living God when faced with persecution, of stability in the midst of a frenetic pace or a massive disappointment. In other words, in a fallen world perseverance contributes maturity and stability to our character – and trials build perseverance. So James is very bold: we should, he says, ‘consider it pure joy’ whenever we face trials of various kinds. This is not a perverse form of Christian masochism, but an entirely appropriate response if we remember the Christian’s goals. If our highest goals are creature comforts, this passage is incomprehensible; if our highest goals include growth in Christian character, James’s evaluation makes eminent sense.”

from For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word (vol. 1), the reading for November 19

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