– Inyang Okutinyang
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In James 1:2-3, God instructs us to “…count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” It’s important to note here that it is your faith that is being tested; that’s what the devil is after.
Hebrews 10 (NKJV)
32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:
33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;
34 for you had compassion on me[h] in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.
35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
Here too you are encouraged to remain joyful, especially in the midst of tests and trials, realizing that when difficult times come, it is your faith that is being examined. This is good news in that it means first of all you do have faith, which many Christians aren’t even sure they have! Secondly, your faith is such a threat to the enemy that he seeks to attack it. Praise God, faith will stop all of Satan’s attacks and render them futile every time (Ephesians 6:16).
So, what are you to do in situations where your faith is attacked? Start to activate (that is, release and put to work) your joy by singing, praising God and even dancing. For example, when the desperately thirsty Israelites got to Marah where they found only bitter, undrinkable water, they should not have succumbed to bad attitudes and despair as a result of their feelings and circumstances but should have kept the Holy Ghost party going by remembering all what God had just done for them; declaring that they know He will do it again; and rejoicing by singing and dancing!
The Father knows way ahead of time what He plans to do in your trying times, so don’t let the enemy steal your joy, rather “count it all joy.” How? By “knowing this”, that being joyful in the adverse circumstances is what will lead you into realized and sustained victory. Even though Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, you staying joyful regardless of the outward circumstances, will ensure that he does not succeed. Rather, the tests and trials will then become the fertile soil from which you will develop and grow in character and spiritual maturity. You will have your needs met and you will lack nothing.
James 1 (AMPC)
4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work (in you), so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
God’s presence was with the Israelites every step of the way on their journey, leading and guiding them by His pillar of cloud and fire. He knew exactly what He was going to do before any need arose and He was always faithful to provide. The same is true for you and me today. His abiding presence is with us by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. He has said He will never leave or forsake us, He will guide us into all truth and will abundantly supply all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. All we have to do is believe and receive. Alleluia, what a Holy Ghost deal! So, where is your song and dance? Let’s keep the Holy Ghost party going!