Don’t Lose Your Joy!
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48 NKJV
The apostle James taught us to consider various trials encountered as joy, showing a direct relationship between the testing of one’s faith with patience; and, patience working perfection (Jas. 1:2-4). I think James knew that in life stuff would happen and Satan’s number one weapon is affliction (Mark 4:17). Afflictions are the pressures of life: sickness, financial problems, persecution, trouble, various tests and trials. So, when you encounter pressures of life, don’t get upset; don’t lose your joy. Endure it with the joy of the Lord knowing that these things are being used to produce patience and patience puts you on the path of perfection, if you don’t lose your joy.
We are to consider various trial in life as joy—not happiness. Why? Happiness is a state of well-being and contentment because someone or something brought you pleasurable satisfaction (Merriam-Webster). Happiness is based on “happenings” or circumstances, but circumstances are subject to change; then your feeling of happiness changes. On the other hand, joy is a force of the Spirit of God; an unchanging attribute of God’s Spirit; a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is patience during the trial, coupled with joy that sets you on the path of perfection.
When trials come to try your faith and test your character, joy is your best character witness. Joy gives you strength to endure (Neh.8:10). For example, Jesus, in His earthly perfection, endured the cross with joy (Heb. 12:2); and, Peter and the apostles rejoiced after being persecuted and beaten (Acts 5:41). They gloried also in their tribulation (Rom. 5:3), and they patiently endured—showing no impatience or weariness—but they endured what was happening with joy (Matt. 10:22), with patience and joy gaining the life of their souls and experiencing the reality of their faith (Luke 21:19).
If the path of perfection were a train, i.e., a love train, then joy would be the engine; peace would be a box car; and, patience would be the caboose. Patience must be constant with joy throughout the trial, whether you’re believing God for provision (Phil. 4:19), or believing for physical or emotional healing (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus said, “these things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” [complete, perfect, entire lacking nothing]. Don’t lose your joy!