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James asks us to count it all joy when we fall into various trials. No temptation to do something evil is ever sent from God, but they come to kill, steal, and destroy. But of course our Lord wants us to overcome and be stronger by relying on him. Our ability to draw on the strength of joy is based on what we know about our God. If we know He is with us and helps us to overcome then we can be patient in the midst of our test. Patience is a fruit of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. We can bear up under the load of a temptation and know that it is going to pass.
James tells us that patience will put us in position to lack nothing we will need to overcome. Jesus was tempted in every way like we are, yet without sin. When He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Satan told him to turn stones into bread, but Jesus did not yield but quoted the book of Deuteronomy. If Jesus had to quote the Bible to overcome temptation, then maybe we must do the same. In a temptation then we must know something of the Word of God to speak against our enemies. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit and we must give him something to work with on our behalf. Our enemy has no answer for God’s Word.
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James the brother of Jesus, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, sends us a very difficult task. It is very foreign to our thinking in this generation, and perhaps to every generation. To have joy in the midst of a trial, temptation or test, is not the way we normally think, but is what James 1:2 asks us to do. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Joy is the foundational fruit of our relationship with the Holy Spirit in a trial. We need to know some things about joy, if it is so important.
Where does joy come from, what does it do, and what is it? The first Christmas tells us where it comes from. The angels told the shepherds that they brought glad tidings of great joy about the birth of the King of Kings. Joy comes from the heart of God. That may be shocking for some because they see God as an old sour puss never satisfied about anything but punishing some law breaker. Joy is a concept in the mind and heart of God and begins in our mind the same way. It is birthed there by God when we believe what he says. Romans 15:13 states “the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.”
Joy comes from believing what God has said about the covenant He desires to establish with us. Zephaniah shows us that the Father loves us joyfully and rejoices over us with singing. Which brings us to the next question, what does joy do? Joy does what Zephaniah tells us that God does, rejoice. Joy brings the emotional lift we need in a trial to celebrate even before the trial is over because God is bringing us through. It is not though a fixed plastic grin that has no relation to reality. What is joy? Nehemiah said the joy of the Lord is our strength. Joy is strength, so James knows if we are going to be victorious in our trial we must count it joy. More to Come!
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