Christian Joy no matter what

by Mike Ratliff

2 Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις, 3 γινώσκοντες ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως κατεργάζεται ὑπομονήν. 4 ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ ἔργον τέλειον ἐχέτω, ἵνα ἦτε τέλειοι καὶ ὁλόκληροι ἐν μηδενὶλειπόμενοι. James 1:2-4 (NA28)

2 Consider it all joy my brothers whenever you fall into various trials 3 knowing that the testing of your faith works endurance; 4 let endurance work to fulfillment, that you be mature and complete lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The word joy in my translation is the Greek noun χαρὰν, which is the Accusative, Singular of χαρά or chara, “is an antonym of grief and sorrow. It denotes ‘joy, happiness, and gladness.’” In other words, James, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is telling Christians to not grieve or be sorrowful, but to be glad and full of joy when they “fall into various trials.” The words “you fall” translates the verb περιπέσητε, which is the Aorist tense, Subjunctive mood, and Active voice of περιπίπτω or peripiptō, which is a compound of περί or peri, “properly through (all over), that is, around” and πίπτω or piptō, “fail, fall (down), light on” with the result coming to mean, “to fall into something that is all around, that is, light among or upon, be surrounded with: – fall among (into).” Doesn’t that “figuratively” describe how we so often have found ourselves in the midst of something that seems “overwhelming?” The word trials translates the noun πειρασμοῖς, which is the Dative, Plural of πειρασμός or peirasmos, “refers either to a testing or a temptation to do something wrong.”

What do we have so far? James is telling us who are His brothers and sisters in Christ, to be joyful and glad when we find ourselves to have fallen into circumstances that are causing a testing or temptation. This would make little sense if we stopped there. He then tell us much more. He begins v3 with the participle γινώσκοντες, which I translated as “knowing.” It is the Present, Participle, Active voice of γινώσκω or ginōskō, “to know absolutely.” What truth do Christians know absolutely concerning the tests and trials in which they find themselves? The word “testing” in v3 translates δοκίμιον or dokimion. “that by means of which anything is tried, proof, criterion, test; trial, the act of trying or putting to proof.” And, what is it that is being tested or proved? The word “faith” in v3 translates the noun πίστεως, which is the Genitive, Singular of πίστις or pistis, “assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

This actually defines the meaning of a trial for the Christian. I look with suspicion upon the authenticity of a professing Christian whose faith is never tested. Just as Jesus was “tested” in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-13), we who are in Christ are tested. The word δοκίμιον, which is translated as “testing” denotes a positive test intended to make one’s faith “genuine” (cf. 1 Peter 1:7). What is the result? I translated ὑπομονὴ as “endurance,” however; “steadfastness” would have been a good translation there as well, which is a life of faithful endurance amid troubles and afflictions. What does a life of endurance or steadfastness lead do? It leads to completion or perfection. We grow in holiness, but are not yet perfected in it. Such perfection will be realized only when Jesus returns, which I pray will be soon.

Even so, come soon Lord Jesus!

Soli Deo Gloria!


3 thoughts on “Christian Joy no matter what

  1. Hey, Mike. That’s good theology and all, but what about when a fella’s phone gives up the ghost and his new phone don’t work? Where’s the joy in that? /sarc/ Life – ALL of it stained, twisted, and corrupted by that one fella so long ago; and every other person who’s drawn breath since.

    Except there is this One Man Who is different. I think He has the keys to hell and death and eternal life. Yeah, I remember Him – He’s the guy you keep talking about!

    Now I remember the joy of my salvation by the great and mighty King of ALL and that stupid phone problem don’t steal my joy.



  2. Greetings
    The adversary,working through my Husband tried very hard to steal my God given joy ,I was sharing with him how special I felt when the vehicle dealership drove my new SUV to my front door last year,and he interpreted that to me saying the male who brought it and picked me up made me feel special…. I was talking about my truck I didn’t care who drove it 💁🏽 As I tried to explain that to him
    He started telling me F?ck you and him you B?tch
    He hit my hand and slammed our front door 3 times extremely loud (we live in a complex) and started throwing his shoes at wall and screaming you B?tch
    I called on the Lord and He heard my cry ,he jumped in my SUV a left …. I cried cuz we’ve been married 4 years,my two sons from my deceased Husband are adults ,and have their own lives that I will not intrude on,so I sat in my room and cried out to the Wonderful counselor the Prince of Peace I know He cares.
    I don’t know if I cried for my pain or the thought of my Husband and me both being in ministry and going door to door as witnesses for our King then coming home to this …. our Father sits high but He looks low and there is no joy in what happened in this “Christian home”
    So yes I know what it means to struggle to hold on to Gods Joy and His peace.
    God bless you sis KK


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