James 1:2 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for Great Joy!”
Did you hear that? Great Joy! This word joy here in Greek is the word “chara.” It means cheerfulness, delight, to have exceeding joyfulness. So then when trials, troubles, adversity come we should approach them with cheerfulness and exceeding joyfulness. God never said that living for Him and living by faith would be easy. But faith takes God at His Word and obeys His Word by faith. Faith is not dependent on any natural situation or condition because faith is usually the opposite of what’s going on. If everything is just wonderful and perfect, what do you need faith for? When trials, troubles, and adversity come it never feels good. So, the choice is to let the adversity control and rule you, or do what God says to do, be cheerful. Every time you act on God’s Word, God stands behind His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). When we act in faith and act like God’s Word is true, no matter how bad our situation is God will always make His Word work.
Why act cheerful and joyful? The next verse gives us the answer. James 1:3 – “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” It’s only through tests and trials that we grow and mature. I youth pastored for fifteen years and over the years I led several missions’ trips and have taken hundreds of teenagers overseas to minister. Most of the kids had to work hard to raise their money with car washes, donut sales, candy sales – whatever it took to go. What was amazing to me was that there was always a kid or two whose parents just pulled out their checkbook. Once we were overseas, those were usually the kids that would get in trouble instead of being focused on ministry. Trials and tests mature us and grow us. Pity the person who has not taken responsibility for their lives. When we understand that when adversity comes it’s our opportunity to mature, then we will rejoice. The truth is for all of us, that our character and faith is always revealed through tests and trials. God challenges us to rejoice, be cheerful through adversity. If we fail to act in faith, we fail the test. And by failing the test there is no growth and maturity in our lives. In other words, when we fail to appreciate the opportunity to grow, the trial wins instead of you. When we pass the test through every growth opportunity, it makes us better, stronger, and more mature. James says that it makes you perfect (mature) and complete, needing nothing. When God sees and hears your faith, He takes up your case and goes to work on your adversity. Anyone can pout and complain about what is happening. Anyone can blame others for their situation, but God only moves because of your faith (Hebrews 11:6).
Pity the person who has not taken responsibility for their life.
This is the attitude that I’ve had to take in over thirty years of ministry. When adversity comes, it proves that I’m doing something right. The devil is mad, so he is stirring up adversity (Ephesians 6:12). When trials come it’s God’s opportunity to bless me (if I act right and rejoice in faith). It’s a God set up! The Lord is going to use the thing that the enemy is trying to use against me to increase me, favor me, and shower me with His abundance (John 10:10). I have lost count of how many times God has proven this to be true.
This Word is so exciting and powerful because it tells us that what we’re going through RIGHT NOW is developing us, maturing us, and positioning us for an increase. The trial is growing you to be more like Christ. The Word is clear in Hebrews 12:2 – “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the champion of our faith. For the JOY that was set before Him, He endured the cross.” Jesus went to the cross with “chara,” rejoicing, cheerfulness, and exceeding joyfulness. It didn’t feel good or look good but because He knew what the outcome would be, He rejoiced. Rejoicing during your test, tribulation, and adversity will mature you in being more like Christ. No matter how it feels or how it looks, if you will rejoice, you will win!
Jesus went to the cross with JOY!
Keep this in mind as you go through the tests and trials of life. Stand on the promises of God when you are being attacked. Your reward will be great. Keep smiling, keep rejoicing, and keep believing that God is making this work out for your good (Romans 8:28).
My prayer for you today is that you will stand firm on God’s Word, then you will come out on top.
Pointing People to Jesus,
“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”