This is an Audio Sermon.
The book of James contains more than fifty commandments, and none are more difficult to obey than the very first: “Be joyful in the midst of trials.” As believers in Christ, there should never be a question of “if” we will experience trials and hardship in life, only “when.” So we should prepare as best we can in the meantime. After all, if our leader was persecuted and executed, should we expect more favorable treatment? The Bible is replete with examples of men and women who faced trials and responded in a variety of different ways. In fact, trials are almost the norm in Scripture, with days without testing being the exception. In order to properly endure and weather hardships, there is something we need to know and believe. This knowledge and perspective is so vital that James chooses to begin his letter with such insights. When trials come your way, will you persevere with a prolonged, appropriate response? This is the only route toward maturity. Or will you suffer the duration of the trial resisting what God wants to teach you?