"Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of God." ~ William Van Der Hoven
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." James 1:2"Count it all joy" ... all of it.
So often we fail in this endeavor as believers ... counting it all joy.
Life overwhelms us. We face trials, temptations, and testing. We get caught up in the circumstances and situations that seem to be overtaking us.
The Greek word used here is hegeomai and means "to govern, rule; to think, consider."
We should be governed, ruled, by the joy we have in Christ. Instead we are guilty, far too often, of being defined by cynicism or complaint.
In studying this verse, I notice two important truths.
1. Joy is a command.
James is not suggesting that we consider the difficulties and struggles in our life as joy nor is saying we might want to think about life this way.
NO! He is clear ... "Count it all joy..."
As believers, JOY is not optional. We are expected to live in joy. Paul writes to us in Galatians about the fruit of the Spirit and joy is listed second only to love in the list of what must be evident in our lives.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22 - 23.Joy, as Paul and James define it, is rejoicing, gladness. We live in gladness, a deep-seated awareness of the grace of Christ in our lives that is unrelated to and independent of any circumstance or trial we may face.
2. Joy is a choice.
As with all things, our sweet Heavenly Father does not impose His will on us. We are commanded to live in joy; but, we are given the privilege of choosing obedience in this area as with all others.
We have the ability to choose to view life's difficulties in light of the cross. And when I consider the suffering Christ faced on Calvary, nothing in my life seems so overwhelming or significant that I can choose anything other than joy.
I have heard these two truths stated by several pastors:
- Outlook determines outcome.
- Attitude determines action.
A joyful outlook understand that obedience to God's commands will result in an outcome that brings honor and glory to Him.
A joyful attitude is a choice we make daily to focus on Christ and His grace toward us which leads to actions that point others to Him.
So, I wonder, today will you be obedient to our Lord's command for joyful living? Will you make the choice to focus on Him in all things and trust in the joy that He offers?
Joy: Profound Growth by Teri Lynne
Teri Lynne is an avid lover of books, constant drinker of strong coffee (with lots of sugar and creamer), and passionate follower of Christ. Married to Scott since 1996 and mother of Casiday since 2000, Teri Lynne, in her words, is living her own happily ever after ... mostly. Writing and teaching women to live empowered, confident lives in Christ and HIS strength is a dream come true for her. You can find her musings almost daily at "Pleasing to You" where she encourages, challenges and inspires others to pursue lives that are pleasing to God.