James tells us to remain faithful during our trials, not just joyful. Our faithfulness is connected with our happiness. Remaining faithful helps us to be happy despite any tests or trials we may be going through. When we are tested and prevail, keeping the faith, God promises to reward us. Doing His Will brings us closer to the life He has planned for us and if we are patient, we will ‘receive what he promises (Hebrews 10:36 GNT)‘.
Be joyful. Trust in God and keep the faith. Defeat the trial and do His Will.
He will help you. He will reward you.
Sometimes, it seems like God is testing us. But He doesn’t do that. He can’t be tempted nor will He tempt us. ‘But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (1:14-15 GNT)‘.
You don’t have to worry about about Him lying or changing His mind about that either. ‘God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 NKJV) ‘ So don’t ever believe He is tempting you. It’s your own desires that bring temptation.
So don’t take temptation lightly. It is very real and no joke. Eve’s temptation caused her to eat the fruit and she was the first to sin because of her fleshly desire to be like God. That sin brought death to this world, causing the perfect, unspoiled Earth to begin to decay and die. Paradise was no more. Perfection is not obtainable here on Earth but rather in Heaven alone, sin made sure of that. But at least we have Jesus, who wouldn’t let us stay separated from Him, going so far as to die a most humiliating death on the cross.
We can’t give into our flesh and its desires or we will be caught in the vicious chain of temptation, sin and death.
But there is good news.
Temptations can be overcome with the help of God. If we ask him, He will help us fight back. He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us so: ‘Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out. (GNT)‘ So when you feel tempted, go to God! He will give you the strength to overcome!
Trials and tests can also come from those around us when they find out we are Christians. They may hate us even, because we are against the things or sins they want to do. That’s not to say we’re perfect and never sin ourselves but as born-again Christians, we should never choose to sin. When we sin, we repent and ask for forgiveness and tell others to do the same. But when they don’t and instead fight against us, don’t let it get you down.
‘Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and say that you are evil, all because of the Son of Man! Be glad when that happens and dance for joy, because a great reward is kept for you in heaven. For their ancestors did the very same thing to the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23 GNT).’
And that’s not the only verse! There are more verses that remind us that the world will hate us for who we are and WHO’S we are but we should be happy and rejoice in the rejection!
1 Peter 3:14 GNT: ‘But even if you should suffer for what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry.‘
1 Peter 4:14 GNT: ‘Happy are you if you are insulted because you are Christ’s followers; this means that the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is resting on you.‘
Matt. 10:22 GNT: ‘Everyone will hate you because of me. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved.‘
It may be difficult to do, but we have to remember that they hated Him first: ‘If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18-19 NKJV)‘
So keep your faith because God is our Creator and ‘does not change or cause darkness (James 1:17 GNT)‘.
‘This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5 NKJV)‘ He made us to ‘have first place among all his creatures (James 1:18 GNT)‘ and as God’s children our ‘names are written in heaven (Hebrews 12:23 GNT)‘.
Giving in to temptation leads to sin and death but keeping your faith leads to joy, happiness, and a reward in Heaven.
Today’s devotion was a bit longer than the past couple of weeks. I guess God had a lot He wanted me to tell you! Let me know what you think in the comments below!