My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (James 1:2-3)
It's hard to imagine how we could possibly experience joy when we are going through the various trials that make up life. And yet we are told to, and if we are told to do something, then NOT doing it is a sin.
So how are we to have joy in our hearts and in our lives even when we are going through difficulties?
In order to experience the kind of joy God wants us to have, we need to make certain we are believing the right things. It doesn't matter what we SAY with our mouths; what matters is what we BELIEVE in our hearts.
Here are the things we have to BELIEVE, if we truly want to experience joy regardless of what life throws at us.
- We have to BELIEVE that God is in control of whatever trial we are experiencing. He and He alone controls the intensity and duration of our trials and suffering.
He knows exactly how much and how long we must endure to accomplish His purpose in us.
- We have to BELIEVE that God has a specific purpose for each trial we face, and every single trial is divinely orchestrated to achieve that purpose.
- We have to BELIEVE that this trial will prove to be for our good if we respond to it in faith and devotion to God. It may yield in us something we presently lack, or it may remove something that is hindering our relationship with God. Either way, we have to believe it WILL ultimately work out for our good and His glory!
- We have to BELIEVE that God's grace is sufficient for all our needs, and that He will sustain us through even the greatest of trials. Our trials are an opportunity to demonstrate (or develop) our perserverance in the face of our difficulties.
- We have to BELIEVE that this trial will strengthen our faith, and develop Christ=likeness in us. Our response to our trials is a measure of our spiritual maturity.
- We have to BELIEVE that God will walk with us every step of the way in our trials; He will never leave or forsake us.
- We have to BELIEVE that by His grace and the power of His Holy Spirit, we will emerge victorious from our trials.
From a sermon based on a message by Dr. Charles Stanley.
Visit Dr. Stanley's website, In Touch