Living out Joy through Trials!
Have your ever considered your trials a joy? What about leading others to joy through their trials?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 HCSB
“for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17 HCSB
While encouraging the Christians in Rome, Paul wrote to them concerning their behavior toward one another. After reminding them not to judge each other’s behavior, for the Lord will execute the final judgement, he then tells them instead to help one another. We have a responsibility as brothers and sisters in Christ to look out for the weaknesses of others and, rather than judging, help them by removing any stumbling block we might inadvertently place before them.
Let us bear in mind our brothers and sisters who are going through the trials of temptation and attempting to change.
Instead of eating a tempting food in front of a sister who is attempting to lose some weight — refrain.
Instead of drinking in front of a sister who is attempting to walk away from an addiction — refrain.
Instead of causing a potential stumbling block — let’s encourage and lead our brothers and sisters to righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit!
If there is any verse in Scripture telling us joy is not simply a feeling of happiness it is this…!
“My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials,” James 1:2 NET
Although not the same Greek word, this verse also makes me think of…
“Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 NET
I don’t know about you — but when I am experiencing a trial or if I am suffering, the first word to describe how I feel I feel is not joy!
But we are called to grow the Fruit of the Spirit, part of which is joy, and this can be grown through trials. Just as we can lead others to joy, we pray for the Lord to lead us to joy. James goes on to echo the words of Paul to the Romans:
“because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.” James 1:3-4 NET
By focusing on the grace and mercy of the Lord in and through our trials and suffering we will find ourselves rejoicing in the hope that Jesus has afforded us through His death and resurrection. By focusing on the Lord — our joy will be perfected as we grow in the Fruit of the Spirit.
It is due to our own trials we are able to then lead others to righteousness, peace, and joy as they journey down similar paths.
“Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you.” 2 Corinthians 3-5 NET
As we discovered earlier this month, joy is not linked to our circumstances or our surroundings. Joy is linked to the Grace of God! Throughout the month of March, my sweet friend Jana Kennedy-Spicer has been studying various Scriptures on the topic of Grace at Sweet to the Soul Ministries. I am honored to be her guest today as we dig into Ephesians 2:8 and I invite you to join me!