Consider it *All* Joy?

January 22, 2014

by Norm Miller

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” James 1.2.

Yeah, right!

Isn’t that how we secretly react to this verse?

Who counts it all joy to stare down cancer, deal with a recalcitrant teen, or work for an over-bearing boss? I’m not sure who truly does, but I know who should – all God’s children. The context of the verse says a joyous reaction to troubles tests our faith, produces endurance and brings us — God’s children — to maturity in Christ.

The verse is as interesting as it is challenging. The word translated consider is a verb meaning — do it now and once for all; so, there’s no room to decide when we’ll be joyful or which trials we’ll endure joyfully. Just make up your mind now to be joyful always, come what may, rain or shine.

The word encounter means, literally, to fall into, just as the man who fell among the thieves in Luke 10.30. As the thieves sought to rob the man, so do trials and tribulations attempt to steal the joy we have determined to express in the face of such theft.

The word translated various has a connection to the Old Testament word that describes Joseph’s many-colored coat. Have you ever thought of trials as being multi-colored? Well, have you ever been blue with sadness? Ever been green with envy? So mad you saw purple? What about the yellow trials of cowardice when trying to witness for Christ? The black of guilty sin?

“What can wash away my sin? / Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Now there’s a color that was spilt in the trial, endured the trial and conquered the trial. And it is still powerful today, the red blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from sin and brings joy.

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Norm Miller

If the Lord has taught you how to be joyful, or you want to express your joy, please do so. Leave a joy-filled comment.

Edmond Long

James 1:2 is a tad hard to translate, but what is clear is James, as did Paul, commanded his readers to be joyful. So, we can choose to be joyful? Who would’ve thought?

Stephen R. Jones

This article was a blessing to me this morning! I lead chapel for our daycare twice a month (don’t worry it’s not that hard, the same messages apply to adults as well as these preschoolers). Every time we meet it’s a time of joy, with joyful kids, and joyful preschool teachers. As pastor I sure try to bring a “heaping helping” of joy. Unfortunately it’s sometimes easier to feel the spirit of joy in preschool chapel than in Sunday AM worship, but that doesn’t stop me from spreading the joy of Jesus! Today was Chapel Day – right after reading this great article. I grabbed 3 different bright colors of paper, wrote a big J O Y on each and we talked about joy! Our preschoolers are unusually bright, so even the youngest could read the word joy. I used 1 Kings 1:40 from the HCSB – the people had so much joy they caused an earthquake! The world needs that kind of joy! (Norm, was this joy-filled enough?)

    Norm Miller

    More than enough, brother. I am so encouraged that you were so affected. Thx for your kind words.

Ben Simpson

Very good, Norm! Thanks for the post.

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