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Volume 22 - Page 112 of 214 Index | Zoom | |
"Count it all joy."
pp. 201, 202
We found that John had no greater joy than to hear that his children walked in the
truth. What should we say we counted "all joy" if we were asked? James writing to the
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1: 2).
This is certainly not a natural point of view. Most of us would count it all joy if we
had escaped divers temptations. James, however, makes it clear that he is no
misanthrope, no man who is only happy when he is miserable. He proceeds to explain:--
"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have
her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Blessed is the man
that endureth temptation: for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which
the Lord hath promised to them that love Him" (James 1: 3, 4, 12).
He can count it all joy and be called blessed, not because of the temptations
themselves, but because of their issue.
In their meaning in modern usage, the words "temptation" and "tempt" are somewhat
limited, but the true meaning, that of making trial, is still found in the word "attempt",
into which none dream of reading any idea of temptation. Temptation, or trial, can then
be contemplated with joy by reason of its effects. It works patience, it leads to full
maturity, it may at last lead to a crown. Much in the same spirit are the words of Paul in
Rom. 5: 3, 4: "We glory in tribulation", he said not for tribulation's own sake, but
because we know that "tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and
experience hope". Peter also conveys much the same thought when he says:--
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth
(though it be tried with fire), might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the
appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 1: 7).
Joy therefore may accrue from the most joyless of circumstances. We look beyond
the present and immediate experience to see what its outworking will be. And if the
temptation or trial produces patience, then we may rejoice in hope of the glory of God. It
is good to cultivate an eye for this joy, or it may remain hidden and unseen in many a