JOY in Temptations, you say?? It sounds “oximoronish”! Yet, these are not my thoughts, but those directed to those Beyond the Strait Gate, recorded in the Epistle of James.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”
It is a given…we WILL be tempted. But trials/temptations is a good thing. Our response is to be joyful when they do occur!
Today’s gleanings will take us on a “mining excavation”…take out those pik axes with me and let’s begin to chisel our way into understanding verse 2-3.
My “mine” is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. The pattern that follows below is: the Bible word, the number reference where it can be found in Strong’s, the Greek word for the Bible word, and the root meaning. Let’s get started!
“count” – 2233- hegeomat – consider; deem
“all” – 3956- pas- any; every; the whole
“joy” – 5479- chara’ – calm delight; gladness; be exceeding
“fall” – 4045- peripip’to – to fall into something that is all around you
“divers” -4162- poy’esis – performance; deed
“temptations” – 3986 – peirasomos – putting to proof; disciplines or provocations
“knowing” – 1097 – ginos’ko – be aware; understand;
“trying” – 1383 – dokim’ion – testing (trustworthiness)
“faith” – 4102 – pis’tis – persuasion (of moral conviction; credence); belief; fidelity
“worketh” – 2716 – katergozomai – accomplishes (too finish)
“patience” – 5281 – hupomone – cheerful or hopeful); endurance; constancy; continuing.
Having found all these “nuggets” in our “mine”, let us lay them out before us and see the result of our chiselling efforts for a better understanding of these two verses. Please allow me to paraphrase verses 2-3:
My brother, consider (or deem) any (and all) gladness (or delight) when you are surrounded all around you with provocations and disciplines. Be aware, understand it is your trustworthiness of your moral conviction and fidelity, your belief, that will accomplish ( and complete) your continuing endurance.
What trials or temptations are we facing today? Now, the question is really, HOW are we going to face them…with what heart attitude?
As I speak to myself, I tell myself to keep my heart pointed toward Eternity as my goal, and not the here and now. I must understand and be joyful in accepting all the Sovereign God allows me to go through because He has a purpose and is fitting me here where I am as I go through these times of testing, so I can endure anything while I am here, as He is preparing me for Heaven: Eternity with Him; to be where He is; with Him. AND…He has equipped me to endure this trial; this temptation. How do I know that? God’s Word says this:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” – I Cor. 10:13 KJV
How we accept and respond to God’s will for us, who have entered through the Strait Gate and are on the path Beyond the Strait Gate, will determine our Christian walk.
Will the trials stymie us so as to stand still and eventually wither away so that there is no semblance of every having gone through The Strait Gate?
Will we retreat and forget our relationship with Christ?
Will we accept with JOY His plan and purpose for us, His child, believing and trusting in Him, surrendering our self-will?
It is only in this latter determination where we will find His joy and His peace as we face the trials of our faith. And, in obedience to His direction to “count it ALL joy” as we go through this exercise of increasing our faith, our faith will produce the spiritual fruit of “patience”.