The Weekly Perspective

by TJ Draper, Deacon

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. But let steadfastness have its maturing effect, that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
— James 1:2–4

This past weekend, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Birmingham hosted a conference, the theme of which was, “Courageous Church, Hostile World.” And as we considered the trials of the church in Acts, and compared it to the present day, one couldn’t help but think of the words of James.

James wrote his letter to the brothers and sisters undergoing quite severe persecution as they were scattered across the region fleeing the threat of death. But the thing is, the harder the enemies of Christ push against the church, the more the church can and should rejoice. James instructs joy in the face of trials and persecutions. For in the trials the church is strengthened and matured.

Maturity, in fact, is a major theme of the book of James. And the means to bring it about is not something we usually look forward to readily. And yet, as the world around us moves into a more hostile stance, the joy that we show in the face of it should convict those around us.

Remember Paul and Silas in Acts 16. Though they faced trials, hardships, and false accusations, for which they were imprisoned, yet they sang hymns as the other prisoners listened. And in the end, through their joy and maturity in the face of trials, the entire household of the jailer was baptized into the faith.

So as we begin to see the trials taking hold around us, count it joy, for God is working to mature his church. We do not know what God will work through us!