Many of you who memorize God’s Word know the joy of looking deeper into Scripture verses as you study them. I have outlined this process as a part of my book, My Time with The Lord. My Bible memory verse plan offers a guide for both memorization and meditation in the Word. Study of each component of the verse opens new understandings about God Himself, and never fails to hold personal meaning as the Holy Spirit uses it to speak directly into our hearts and lives. It takes the reader to a deeper level, revealing treasures of wisdom and knowledge that may be assimilated, applied, and recalled as God leads you. Look at this verse about trials.
I memorized this verse the first time when my boys were very young. It was a great comfort to me as I struggled as a young mother and wife, teaching, and going to school myself. As I studied this verse again this month, my study revealed many hidden treasures and great encouragement. As a result, I wanted to share all I have learned and demonstrate the process of mining the riches of Scripture.
When you first read this verse, it is very puzzling. Why would I want to be joyful about trials? The first reaction is to pray for deliverance–usually asking that it happen quickly! As you analyze these verses, you will begin to see the purpose of trials. We all go through trials at some points in our lives. Let’s look at this verse and examine it by looking at the keywords first. I usually go to dictionaries, Bible concordances, and other translations.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV).
- Consider it. The KJ version says, “Count it.” This means “to think it through, to consider things mentally, and to look at something from a different mindset;” to make a decision about something “after weighing or considering all the facts and circumstances” (Dictionary.com).
- Joy. Joyful emotions are those of “great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good” (Dictionary.com).
- Whenever. Timing is specified: “at any time; when” (Dictionary.com).
- Trials. The occasion is given: in “acts of trying, testing, or putting to proof; in affliction; trouble” (Dictionary.com).
- Many kinds. The trials spoken of are multi-faceted: i.e., ”various, any kind, any sort” (Dictionary.com).
- Know. We can “be assured and understand;” we can “perceive or understand as fact or truth” (Dictionary.com).
- Testing. This is “the means by which the presence or quality or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial” (Dictionary.com). “The term testing is akin to the idea of exercise. If our faith never goes to the gym, it becomes flabby. As we encounter trials, our faith is put to the test, exercised, put through its paces” (Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart, Robert J. Morgan).
- Faith. Faith is “confidence or trust in a person or thing; faith in another’s ability; a belief that is not based on proof; belief in God” (Dictionary.com). Hebrews 11:1 calls faith “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Verse 6 adds that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 12:2 points to “Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith,” our example.
- Perseverance. We are urged to “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, especially in spite of difficulties” (Dictionary.com). The NLT translates this word as “endurance;” the NKJV uses the word “patience;” the AMPV adds, “…leading to spiritual maturity and inner peace.” Our understanding should be that godly perseverance means being patient in suffering, steadfast.
- Mature. Maturity is the “perfect work of endurance; complete in development; perfected” (Dictionary.com). The AMPC adds,”perfectly and fully developed with no defects.” Philippians 3:12-16 urges believers to “press on.” Spiritual maturity comes from ongoing obedience to God’s principles, disciplines and commands.
- Complete. The AMP sums up the fruit of perseverance in trials: “…completely developed in your faith.” The ERV phrases it “…all that God wants you to be.”
- Not Lacking. The believer trained by perseverance is “lacking in nothing” (AMP), “needing nothing” (NLT).
As I consider the trials I have gone through in my life, in light of this verse, I see how much God has done to strengthen my faith and help me to grow spiritually. I am reminded of one of my favorite verses, which gives such a perfect illustration of God’s desire for us.
If I had not gone through days of struggle, my faith in Him would be flabby and weak. My faith has been deepened as the deep roots of a tree. I have learned to trust in the Lord; He is my hope and confidence. I know how He has walked with me and guided me in the past, and I know that He will continue to in the future. I am motivated to press on, to “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14), because I know that “tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
Dear Holy Father, teach me that trials are to be embraced joyfully. Remind me that this is testing my faith and will produce endurance in me–endurance and mighty faith in you. I need your help, Lord God. I want to emerge from my trials with a stronger faith than when I entered. I want you to show me how I can encourage others in this walk. I want to be mature and compete. Help me, Lord, to count it all a joy because I know you are working all things for my good because I am your child. Praise You, Lord God.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).