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Trials and Temptations

Today, Pastor Phil continues his series on The Book of James, the inspirational text that influenced the twelve step movement of recovery. Today’s topic is Joy in the midst of Trials and Temptations. Pastor Phil will be referring to James 1:2, New International Version (NIV) of The Holy Bible.

Trials and Temptations

James 1:2: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…

Let’s look at this word Joy for a moment.  Joy is defined as:

Joy(verb): To experience great pleasure or delight: REJOICE

To me, joy is not simply happiness. Happiness seems too momentarily fleeting. In the past, I felt happy when I had a good day at work, or when I hooked up with a girl, or when Yankees won, but eventually this happiness faded. Joy is much deeper and abiding.  Joy can happen at any time, in any season in our life. Joy is different from happiness in that the word “happy” comes from the same root word as “happen”: “hap.” “Hap” means chance or fate. The feeling of happiness comes from what happens to a person by chance, but joy is a source of delight.  This source of delight is what lies underneath all emotions, no matter what happens to a person. No matter what circumstances we are in, we can find Joy.

So James here says to Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever…

Whenever, what?

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

What? You want me to count it as joy during trials? What in the world is this man James talking about?

He’s talking not about worldly temporal happiness, but rather spiritual enduring complete joy in the Lord. Who is sovereign over all things, including trials. In the midst of our brokenness, in the midst of our struggles, in the midst of the beautiful mess we call life, we can still find Joy. We can still find Joy, in the midst of the trials.

Like some of you, I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. But my wife and I are striving to instill positive values in our children, and I heard my kids singing a hymn the other day based on the psalm 118 22-24 and many of you might know this chorus.

I can’t carry a tune, but that’s ok. I don’t have to sing well to understand the meaning of the words.  The hymn goes something like this… This is the day, this is the day, this is the day that the lord has made. That the lord has made.  I will rejoice, I will rejoice, and be glad in it and be glad in it.

I never really understood the origins of the hymn. If you look at v. 22 – the stone the builders rejected become the capstone. This song is referring to Jesus and his death. Jesus is the cornerstone and he was being rejected. Now, the very next verse is about rejoicing about that day.

We are rejoicing about the day that Christ was crucified. We are called to Rejoice in all things. Let’s remember that no matter what happens to us, no matter what trials or tribulations we go through, we can always find joy in the Lord.

Your Brother In Christ,

Pastor Phil Dvorak MS, LMHC

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