[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]The book of James is filled with wisdom. It’s been called the Proverbs of the New Testament.
I decided to take the first 12 verses of chapter 1 and dig in.
Key words. I’m looking here to find the words that are important. There are many ways to figure that out, but I am not going to outline them in this. This blog is for my personal growth and development and I already know how to find key words.
I think one of the most important words here is in verse 2. It’s “count” or “consider”. It’s compelling because of the imagery. I read in a commentary or Bible dictionary some years ago that this was a military term. (I wish I could remember where I got it.) Supposedly it is used to describe troops marching, or at least that is the etymology.
I know, etymology is not the same a a definition. But it’s neat because I get to see how the word developed. When you think of a general commanding his troops to march in formation for inspection, it’s easy to see how that could come to mean, “Consider”. Then throw in the Greek middle voice and it is something we do to ourselves. WE command the troops to march in front of us for inspection. But the question that I have to ask is, “What troops?”
That’s where this little word “it” comes into play. Consider *it* joy.
Now I realize that in English we might say that all the time and never really define “it”, but the little I know about Greek leads me to believe they would not be so sloppy. And even if they would, I still want to be sure I understand.
So there are two ways of looking at the phrase, “Consider it all joy”.
- It’s just a figure of speech meaning, “Be happy” or “Consider yourself joyful”.
- It could be literally saying that when we face trials we should consider “it” to be “all joy”.
And the literalist side of me usually wins this kind of a discussion, especially if I can make sense out of it literally. I try to follow the maxim that you take everything literally until you have a compelling reason to take it figuratively.
So what would the literal explanation be?
This is further complicated by the fact that the word “it” is merely supplied by the translators. As far as I know, all the major translations include it and they don’t even indicate that it is an addition. (Most translations will italicize a word that they supply. None do that, to my knowledge.)
That ought to make me think that I should not think about it. Why argue with the scholarship on it? Well, I choose to. That’s not because I think I am smarter. I just think that I want to pursue the idea of it and see where it leads me. In the end, if it does not make sense, I can admit defeat and tuck myself in under the feet of those more knowledgeable.
But it does work without the “it”.
So here is that phrase. “Consider all joy when you fall into various trials.” Everyone can see that this makes sense. Ultimately it may mean the same thing as including the “it”, but I think it is a small victory of discovery and I will take what I can find.
Consider all joy when you fall into various trials.
What does it mean?
I think it means this: When you face struggles and trials, march “all joy” before your eyes.
If he went on to talk about the joys of a Christian life, the joys of heaven, or the joys of forgiveness, I might be happy with that answer. But he doesn’t do that. He dives into a discussion about endurance, patience, wisdom, prayer, and priorities.
In my thinking, this indicates that there is something missing in my explanation of “consider all joy”. I don’t think the answer to facing trials is to “put on a happy face”. I think the key is to seek to endure the trials and get the most out of it that is possible.
He said that, didn’t he?
The testing of your faith produces patience.
Patience must be practiced–you have to stay with your commitment.
In doing so, you might not have the know-how or wisdom to endure. So pray about it and let God help you find it. If you do all of this, then you will be blessed when you face temptations because you’ll get the “crown of life” mentioned in verse 12.
Ultimately, James says more than, “Smile!” He tells us to consider carefully what is required in order for us to get that crown of life in the end–by learning to endure the trials we face.
So when I face trials, that “all joy” I need to consider is everything that is required for me to FIND that joy in the end.
Consider what will bring joy in the end.
So here’s what I get from these ideas. When I face trials, I need to think about (carefully) what I need to do in order to bring about the BEST result–the growth of my character and the reward of Heaven.
Hey. That sounds like a great plan to me!
See you tomorrow.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text css_animation=””]