My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (NKJV).
Today is the first day of our online Bible study, Faith that Works - the Book of James. A copy of this complete Bible study is now available in ebook form.
One of the first things we must tackle in James Chapter One are the discrepancies in modern translations like the NIV that have taken the original Greek word peirasmos (which means temptations) and changed it to the word "trials." When taken out of context with the rest of the chapter we begin to discover that when James told us to "count it all joy" he was not talking about rejoicing in our sufferings, but our temptation to sin.
While we can grow in our relationship with God, through suffering, we were never meant to put on a false face of joy when doing so. But, when we can stare temptation down and fight against it, that is real joy!
Did you ever wonder why you are still tempted to sin, even though you've been a Christian for a while? It's meant to perfect you in Christ. Spiritual growth is necessary and dying to self (and our former temptations) are part of the growing process. God is not preparing us for life on earth, but for life with Him.
God is actively shaping you into someone who will be perfect and completed. Sure, the shaping process is painful, but in the end, it will result in your perfection.