Jan 1, 2011

Count It ALL Joy

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

If the Lord delivered us immediately from every uncomfortable or distressing circumstance we may be struck by His might and power...for a moment. Soon, though, the memory of would fade like a bad dream, and the memory of deliverance would fade with it. How could we remember? It was merely a fleeting second of need drowned in the cares of life.

When the Lord does NOT instantly deliver us from our trial, but walks with us in love, in comfort, in strength; that is when we are forever changed.
It is then we must lean on God to survive...and it is then we realize that, when in God's care, nothing can touch us.

It is in these sort of trials that we begin to truly understand the meaning in Psalm 91 "I will not be afraid of the terror by night, nor by arrows that fly by day..."
To be fully confident in the ability of God is to be without fear. As we watch the Lord carry us through our sorest trials we gain that full confidence...it is a mere matter of watching Him prove Himself. We can never have a chance to see the full ability of our God at work for us personally without trials. We can never have the ability to walk unscathed through life without these trials to test and strengthen us.

In this great trust and confidence we find that ability to accept any challenge without losing faith. We learn to smile in the middle of pain and sorrow. We gain a mature perspective of life and are able to weather the storms without shifting course.

In fact, the more we trust God, the more we become like Him. When we are fully trusting in the Lord and walking in His Spirit, love blossoms effortlessly and is not crushed by disappointment (because our hope is in God alone and He never disappoints). Joy flows out of us in rivers that are not stopped by circumstance (because God is bigger than my circumstance). Patience...here's the fun part....patient endurance gives birth to greater patient endurance which paves the way for greater acts of God to be worked in us! Gentleness comes naturally because we stop striving to survive. Goodness develops because, of course, we become like what we look at constantly. Faith rises in greater measure because we see the mighty works of God on an hourly basis. Meekness arrives as well, because trials also humble us - they expose the weakness and flaws of the old man so we are motivated to crucify him and live, instead, in Christ. Self-control, too, comes in trials as we learn to bring every emotion and reaction in check and fully possess this soul of ours to bring it under the Lordship of Christ in His ways.

Trials work patience. Patience work godly maturity. Enduring in trials stamps us indelibly with the character of Christ. THAT is both the reason and the means to count trials a joy.


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