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Joy in Tribulation

 

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing

 

Click here for definition of Joy
(GG5479) cheerfulness, calm delight

 

This scripture has always seemed so difficult to me. How in the world are we supposed to be joyful when we’re faced with all kinds of temptations and trials? Who does that?

And cheerful?

“Good morning! My car just broke down and I don’t have the money to fix it! Isn’t that wonderful?”

Or “Good morning! I’m delighted to be on the brink of leaving my husband.”

Count it all joy just doesn’t seem possible when you’re being accosted by one temptation and trial after another–but apparently it is–since we’re told to do just that.

Let’s look at the definitions of temptation and trying.

 

Click here: Temptation
(G3986) a putting to proof

 

Click here: Trying
(G1384) test proof

 

test red_pencilI’m a retired schoolteacher. When I tested my students, I didn’t give them the papers and say, “You’re not going to pass this test. You’re not good enough. It’s too hard for you. You don’t know enough. You’re all going to fail.”

When I gave a test, I expected the vast majority of my students to pass it with flying colors. Why? Because I had taught them the material. And I didn’t want them to fail. I wanted them to succeed.

I’ve met teachers who say, “No one gets an A in my class.” Personally, I don’t think that’s something to brag about.

When God puts us to proof  He’s not standing with His arms folded over His chest saying, “I knew you’d never make it.”

He’s showing us off. He’s expecting us to get an A.

(verse 2) Knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

 

Click here: Patience
(G5278) cheerful or hopeful endurance

 

Click here: Faith
(G4102) persuasion, moral conviction of the truthfulness of God

 

Faith is being persuaded that God is truthful. Our temptations and trials are tests to see if we remember what God has said, and if we believe He’s telling the truth. If we do—we can have patience (hopeful endurance). It’s when we don’t believe, or we’re not sure that we give up hope.

When He says all things work together for our good, do we believe He’s telling the truth? Are we persuaded?

We may not be far enough along in our faith to feel joy when we’re being tried, but we can count it as all joy no matter how we feel.

(verse 4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Click here: Perfect
(G5056) complete

 

We can’t run out of patience and try to fix things ourselves before it’s had an opportunity to accomplish what it’s meant to accomplish in us. That just means taking the test again.

My husband’s stepfather used to joke that he got kicked out of the first grade for not shaving.

Some of us have spent far too long learning the same lesson. I know I have. Perhaps it’s time to go back to the Word and review some of the material. God doesn’t do us the disservice of a “social promotion.” He wants us to pass the test so we’ll be prepared for the future.

II Corinthians 4:17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory . . .

Affliction is producing glory!

So let’s count it all joy when it comes.

Lord, help me to believe that this life is short, and everything I go through here is just a momentary affliction. Thank you, Jesus.

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