Why can we 'count it all joy' (James 1:2)?

The phrase "count it all joy" is found in James 1:2, which says: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds." The word "count" is sometimes translated as "consider." Upon first read, this seems confusing and maybe a bit impossible. Can you really find joy within trials? In order to understand this verse better, it's helpful to dive a little deeper into the following verses.

James 1:2–4 says: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." The reason we can count our trials as joy is because we know that God is using them to produce the fruit of steadfastness in our lives. He is making us more like Him.

Walking through challenges helps us to build character. If our faith were never tested, would it even be faith? In order to build our faith and our Christian character, we need to be in situations where we are required to put it into practice, to truly rely on God. Going through difficulties and learning how to trust God to help us walk through them develops spiritual stamina in us (Romans 5:2–5). This is cause for great joy. The apostle Peter describes the reward of our endurance through suffering as genuine faith, which is worth more than gold: "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:6–7).

When we experience difficulties and trials in our lives, our natural default is to view them negatively. They can make us feel like we are being punished by God, hardly a cause for joy. However, when we view our trials through the lens of James 1:2, we see them as opportunities for us to grow into more mature believers because through them we are developing spiritual perseverance and genuine faith. When we see our trials from this perspective, we can truly count them all as joy. We can have joy in the journey, for we have the hope that God is walking with us and developing spiritual stamina within us in the midst of our trials.

Related Truth:

Why are trials and tribulations part of the Christian life?

How can I have joy when I'm going through trials?

Is suffering for Christ always part of following Him?

What is the key to experiencing joy in the Christian life?

What is a biblical view of thankfulness / gratitude?

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