2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
What does it mean to be “lacking in nothing?” In these few verses James is talking about the testing of your faith. He is writing this letter to the twelve tribes in dispersion who are obviously going through some tough times. As I write this blog it’s become clear to me that hardly any of us have suffered testing on our faith as much as the brothers and sisters in Acts 8 whom he is addressing. Never the less, we shall make this practical.
Growing up I always heard that God would never test his children. After I began reading in the word myself I realized that this statement wasn’t only not true, it what’s down right insane! Not only does God for sure test his followers, he seems to have made a practice of it! After seeing this I’m going “what?” “You mean God is over here testing people?” “Why on earth would he do that?”
What James is talking about here is the very means by which God gets us to the glory seat with Christ. He is literally refining us to be more like him! If you hang around Christians long enough you will hear two words.
Justification -the process by which God makes you right before him.
Sanctification -the process by which God makes you holy before him.
(Loose definitions of course.)
Whenever we accept Jesus as our King something happens. He makes all sin in our lives disappear. We are made whole before God. This is the justification part. Problem is we are so bound and determined to walk away from this we need more. Our spirit man is made new but our soul is still feeling the effects of the old heart. So God starts the process of making us look just like we were called to look in the first place, holy. This is called sanctification.
Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
I hope you didn’t just skip over that verse. Or read it so fast that it didn’t rock you. If you you did, then go back and read it again! Let it do something to you!
Imagine for one second what this verse is saying to us. The same Jesus that we put all emphasis on because of his holiness is who we are being conformed to the image of. The word conformed means that it’s a work. As in God is working this out in us. He is literally doing a work in us that is making us look just like Jesus. Isn’t that so awesome
This is why James is able to say “Count it all joy.” Man is this guy tapped into the spirit or what? Like, who says that? Someone who is walking in accord with the Holy Spirit that’s who. So like I said, you may not be in a position right now where you’re facing death over your faith. But then again you may be! Whatever the case, is it possible for us to believe that God is doing a work in us no matter the circumstance?
I’m sure most have seen the way diamonds are formed from carbon. To save some time allow me to just say that it involves a lot of pressure and a lot of heat. In the same way the Lord is refining his people to a point where we are so pure he can see himself in us. Allowing God to conform us to the image of his son we become like Jesus. “Lacking in nothing.”
I feel the message here in James is we shouldn’t just expect this type of refining. We should count it joy when it comes! We should rejoice and long for the “Trials of many kinds.” All of this in order that we may be just a little closer to King Jesus!