Count everything in life as joy! | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | January 7, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: January 3, 2018 at 9:57 am
James 1:2-4 (ESV) states, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
This is one of the most challenging set of verses in the Word. When we are going through trials, it can be quite difficult to count it as joy because some of us wonder why we are going through so much. Some of us begin to feel when we are going through that it is punishment from God. However, if you are in Christ, you will know that we are going to be tried and tested.
Going through a test as a Christian should make you stronger, not weaker. Romans 8:28 (ESV) affirms, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Therefore, the “things” that are referred to in this verse are the good and the bad.
Every day in our lives is not going to be all sunshine, but as Televangelist Joyce Meyer proclaims, “There will be no ‘bad day’ when God’s Word supports, strengthens and directs us.” Whatever comes our way, we have to learn to “Count it all joy…”
From 2015-2017 I can tell you some things that I have gone through that would make some people give up on God. However, I cannot do that, because in spite of all that I have experienced, God has been good to me.
The Word clearly informs us that we are going to go through trials and tribulations. The real test comes with how we react when we are going through. Has Satan tried to tempt me to give up during my trials? Oh, yes he has; but “the devil is a liar”!
Don’t play into Satan’s hands because that is what he wants you to do. Then he knows he has gotten you right where he wants you, and he has won. Don’t give that “rascal and his imps” the satisfaction. Come on somebody!
In times like these we have to tell Satan as the Word says in Matthew 16:23, “…Get thee behind me, Satan…” Don’t give him a place on your calendar or a time slot in your day. If you truly have God in your life, there is no room or time for Satan. If you don’t have God in your life, refusing to give up your worldly endeavors, He will allow a “Damascus road experience” to come into your life to let you know, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect,” Romans 12: 2 (ESV).
When you have given your life to God fully, then when the trials come, you will understand and get through them much better. The clouds and the rain are going to come, but the sun will shine again. Sometimes we have to be “broken” in order to see who God can really be in our lives, as Tasha was in her story, “Blessed to be Broken,” (Tasha Jean Baptiste with Jeff Grant).
“Growing up, we were forced to go to church, but the church I went to was more of a ‘If you don’t do this, you’re going to go to ****’ type of thing, and it just wasn’t loving. I was about 16 when I decided to stop going. Over the next few years, my parents separated, and my brothers and I were pretty much living in a house by ourselves. So that gave us a lot of freedom. That’s when I really started getting into drinking and partying.
“I saw the faith of my mom, and I saw the love and joy in her heart, and I wanted that, too, but I knew I would have to give up partying because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.
“I stopped drinking and going out to clubs and what-not, but things in my personal life were getting worse, and I fell right back into it. Looking back, I kind of did it backwards. I was trying to change the things in my life, but I wasn’t really seeking God. I really think that is why I failed. My parents finalized their divorce. My mom lost the house. By the end of that year, I ended up failing half of my classes.
“I know it’s a crazy thing to be grateful for, [my] being in that state of brokenness, but I was just crying out, ‘Help me get through this,’ and He really filled me with the desire to get to know Him.
“So, I told a friend [at Kean University] what was going on, and she invited me to [a spiritual event] called ‘Empanadas and God.’ People asked questions, others answered, and it just really felt like they cared. It was so clear that people just loved me unconditionally, which was a totally different experience than I had at church growing up.
“So I continued to go to the weekly meetings, and I just wanted more; I was very thirsty. A speaker asked us to all stand up and hold hands. They prayed first and then she said, ‘Okay, does anyone want to give their life to Christ?’ and I said, ‘I do!’ It was a great moment. God filled me with that boldness. I’m so glad!
“I know I was born a sinner, and I would have been separated from His love forever, but God allowed Himself to die so that I can be saved. I now have a relationship with God through Christ. That just changes my heart and gives me a purpose. I am living life in His design as opposed to mine. He really loves me, and the plan I had couldn’t possibly have been better than what He has for me.”
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)