“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” – James 1:2
The word ‘consider‘ in this passage is the Greek word: HEGEOMAI. It’s where we get the word hegemon or hegemony. It’s a word that conveys the idea of something that stands as chief. For example, the U.S. has long been considered the “hegemonic superpower” or the “world’s hegemon.”
This word literally means to lead, to go in front, to keep before, an official who leads, or a chief.
As I was reading this text, I found this to be a bit bizarre. After all, how does the word “consider” have anything to do with hegemony?” Then I realized the context of the verse and it all became clear. What James is saying is brilliant!
You and I will inevitably be faced with all kinds of emotions as we are encountering ‘various trials.’ During times of crisis in this temporal world, it is only human nature to feel anger or to feel pain. You will often feel grief, and you are definitely going to feel frustration.
When you are under pressure in the heat of spiritual battle, you’re going to feel all of these different emotions and more.
However, what James is saying is that above all of those physical emotions, we should let joy reign supreme. James is telling you to let ‘joy’ be the hegemon, or the chief of your life.
Let joy be the number one thing that exudes out of you when you ‘encounter various trials.’
Now, why does the Bible tell us that? The verse continues on and says, “when you encounter the various trials.”
The word ‘encounter‘ means to “fall around or fall into”. It’s the same word that is used to describe someone falling into a gang of thieves or someone who suddenly finds themselves surrounded by a pack of wolves.
That’s how it feels sometimes…
Like you’ve fallen into the middle of a whole bunch of trials.
We want to have joy coming out of us whenever we find ourselves surrounded by various trials.
Next, this word ‘various‘, means manifold or diversified. We know that in investing, there is tremendous power in diversification, so if you buy gold and silver and foreign currency and foreign investments and US stocks, it creates protection. That’s why people do it, they do it to create protection. Why? So they can meet their investment goals.
Well, Satan launches various trials upon you and I, and these various trials are diversified.
Satan understands the power of diversification.
He doesn’t just hit you with one thing, he hits you here and over here.
Why does he diversify his attack? So that he can at least land one good blow to a child of God.
It’s the same reason we diversify our investments, so we won’t lose everything. He doesn’t want to gamble his plan against our lives on just one front, so he diversifies his attacks against us.
So, when we’re surrounded by trials, temptations and calamities, and they’re coming at us from diverse perspectives, of course we’re going to feel all kinds of emotions.
But the point of this verse and what James is saying is when you fall into, and become surrounded by, a diversified set of trials and tribulations, take joy and raise it like a flag over your life. Make joy the hegemon in your life.
Joy is the ultimate weapon. Satan can fight your fears and he can fight your anger. But the devil is not prepared for our spiritual defense of joy. If you refuse to give up your joy, despite all of your your trials — and even your calamities — Satan is left with little to gain and holds no stranglehold over you.
So, joy is the weapon that will allow us to encounter all trials — and to overcome them!
(Taken from Jerry Robinson’s daily devotionals)