Making the word order a little easier to follow in the Greek Interlinear, this verse reads, ‘Esteem it all joy, my brothers, when you might fall into various trials’.
This verse may well be the equivalent of that common saying, laugh in the face of danger.
Neither are reckless or uncaring of what happens next – danger or trials.
But both offer a logic which is counterintuitive.
Mindset is a buzz-word everywhere in recent times, but all the way back in the 1st Century, Jesus’ brother is onto it.
The word James uses for trials is peirasmos, which means ‘temptation’.
It is the experience of temptation rather than an abstract notion.
It is only used three times in the N.T. Once by Jesus, here in James, and once by Peter. It is differently translated as trials or temptations.
When these temptations happen we are to esteem – hégeomai/think or judge (the only occurrence in the N.T.) – it chara/joy or delight.
We should all be aware that life is not without its difficulties.
James exhorts us to have a different mindset at such times. We are to see these kinks in the road, or low points in our self-belief, as opportunities to face up to these temptations in faith and trust in God.
Remember to smile when times are tough.