Wednesday, April 11, 2007

You Can Have Joy in Trials

For the past two days I have been sharing how you can have joy in the midst of trials. James 1:2 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” This perspective that James gives enables you to have joy regardless of your circumstances. When you examine it carefully, joy is a privilege in Scripture given to us by the Holy Spirit. When you obey God’s Word, He produces “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal.5:22-23). In the words of Paul to the Romans: “The kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom.14:17). This is the means by which we are able to “glory in tribulations” (Rom.5:3). It’s due to “the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom.5:5).

James says, “Consider it all joy—joy in the highest degree, unmixed joy, pure joy.” Joy is to be as varied as the trials. It is probable that James intended it to balance with “various trials”; all the varied testings to have their counterpart in every kind of joy. “The joys are as varied as the manifold tests themselves” (Hiebert). Since trials can come at anytime you are to rejoice when they come. But you cannot prepare yourself for them beforehand because they are undetermined. The word “when” is in the subjunctive mood here and it means “whenever” therefore indicating that trials come at undetermined times. Their arrival cannot be pinpointed beforehand. He also uses the word “fall” to indicated they are unavoidable. The word “fall” (peripipto), literally means, “to fall in the midst of.” It is used in Luke 10:30 and Acts 27:41. The third word he uses is the word “various” (poikilos) which means, “many colored,” “variegated.” It emphasizes the diversity not the number so trials can be of great diversity. Warren Wiersbe says, “The trials of life are not all alike; they are like variegated yarn that the weaver uses to make a beautiful rug. God arranges and mixes the colors and experiences of life. The final product is a beautiful thing for His glory” (Be Mature, 22).

As you reflect on this today, realize that you can have joy in trials because trials should not affect the joy that is available from the Holy Spirit.

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