Take Joy in Trials
There are a lot of trials in the world today. The Bible tells us to take joy in these trials. What type of trials is the Bible talking about?
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials"(James 1:2 NKJV unless noted otherwise)
So what is this joy that we should feel? The type of joy we are supposed to have is not the typical feeling that first comes to mind when you hear the word joy. This is not the "happiness" that is brought on when someone is given a gift or the feeling described by those drinking alcohol, or your favorite team winning. These are all examples of selfish, inward joy, which is short lived.
One must also understand that many of the "trials" that we face are not given by God, but are instead self-inflicted. The simplest way I can explain this is to offer the analogy of putting your hand on a hot stove. Every time you put your hand on the stove you get burned. Every time you get burned, you pay the penalty resulting from putting your hand on the stove. You not only deal with the initial pain of the burn, but you deal with the healing process, coupled with possible lingering effects such as diminished sense of touch. Of course this example is over simplified because we already understand the penalty of touching a hot stove. So let’s expand our view to more realistic examples, while keeping in mind this simple example.
Think about trials you may be in or have had; think about trials someone you know may be in. Many things we consider as trials are brought on by our own foolishness, selfishness, ignorance, or stubbornness. Think about financial difficulties, marital difficulties, illnesses, and relationship difficulties. Often—especially while we are in the middle of these types of trials— we blame God or others around us. Many times, upon careful and prayerful examination of the situation, we find we have played a role in causing the trial.
Should we take joy while in such trials? Yes, if we are learning and growing from them.
Is James talking about self-induced trials?
How can anyone find Joy in the midst of any trial? This goes against any normal human thought. But we are not talking about normal human thought. We are referring to Spirit led thought. James was not speaking of self-induced trials. Read the very next verse.
"knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."(James 1:3)
The Greek word for faith is"pistis", (Strongs number 4102). This word is talking about your relationship with God, or your religious practices. James is referring to a testing or persecution for your belief in God.
Also Peter adds:
"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."(1 Peter 4:12-13)
In Acts it states:
"We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."(Acts 14:22b)
God is most interested in instructing and training us to be His servants and children, living our lives in the way He desires.
"For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."(Hebrews 12:6 RSV)
While in the midst of trials, we tend to think, "Why me?" But trials are necessary for growth. If we were students, we would expect to be tested in order to measure our progress. If we do away with tests, how do we gauge growth? So as students of Yeshua (Jesus), we can expect to be tried in our faith.
Trials should produce growth. This may come by standing firm (persevering) on a true principle. Growth may also come as a result of seeing the need for a change in our life and implementing that change through the power of God’s Spirit and Grace.
We can take joy in trials because we know it is God who is testing us to improve our spiritual state, our relationship with Him and, by extension, with others.
"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope."(Romans 5:3-4)
Trials are used by God to develop our character and strengthen our faith. Because of trials, we know that God loves us!
"For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons." (Hebrews 12:6-8)
We must look to God for true joy. We must have a relationship with Him that will still be strong even if the entire world turns against us. Just remember Yeshua will never leave you.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"(Romans 8:35)
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."(John 16:33)
"Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."(Nehemiah 8:10b)
The "Joy" we are admonished to have in trials is not taking joy in the pain of the trial, but rather having true joy in the fact that our heavenly Father loves us and cares for us. The trials we are enduring are there to mold, shape, and change us into the obedient children that our Father would have us be. So the next time your faith is tested, stand strong and persevere, knowing that you are being examined and prepared for the future. [Acts 14:22b] .
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