It may seem strange that James states in the first chapter of his epistle, and in verses 2 and 3, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience." We so often take the word temptation to mean allurement, coaxing into sin, enticement to commit sin.
However, the word "tempt" here basically means to "try" in the sense of test and purify. When James tells us to count it all joy to fall into temptation, the idea is "to be where we will be purified and become spiritually stronger" - even as gold or silver is tried by fire, and in that way purified. Temptations which Satan presents, God uses to make us spiritually stronger. In temptations sent by our God, our spiritual muscles are strengthened, evil is pushed farther away from us.
James is writing here about a process of purification and strengthening of our faith. And it ought to fill us with joy to know that our God purifies us as silver is purified by fire. Satan tempts us, because he wants to destroy our faith, and to kill us spiritually. But our God works patience in us. His purpose is to make us spiritually stronger.
Surely we are today confronted with many more, and far more crafty temptations than were the saints in the day when James wrote these words. We can be sure that the temptations are going to be even stronger in the days that lie ahead, when the Antichrist is here on this earth.
Do not, however, complain or find fault with God for this. The Antichrist is coming. And when he does come, we should take a firm hold of these words of God through James. Our God will strengthen His people in the faith through the trials the Antichrist brings upon them.
Count it all joy, then, that our God will use Satan and all his host to strengthen, not take away, our faith. Our God has a good purpose in all that which He sends upon His church.
Read: James 1
Through the Bible in One Year
1 Kings 15:25-34
1 Kings 17:1-24
Quote for Reflection:
“All were filled! The entire gathering; the whole Church! And all were filled. For the Holy Spirit always lays hold of the entire man, filling him according to his capacity, his mind and will and his desires, dwelling in his inmost heart… What a tremendous, what a blessed change these men and women must have experienced when of a sudden they were translated from the old dispensation into the new, from the law into freedom, from servants to sons! Is it a wonder that they spoke? And shall we, then, not speak of the marvellous work of God? He is our God forever! The God of our salvation!” --Herman Hoeksema, on Acts 2:1-4
- Date: 16-June