Count It All Joy!
My brethren, (and sistren) count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2,3
It is inevitable that our faith is to be tested if we are going to believe God and fight the good fight! Whether a bodily condition or a temptation which comes to try us, sometimes even by fire, we must stand and take God at His word no matter what comes against us.
Always remember that the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in all things and endured much suffering to prepare the way for us to be able to have victory in all things as our faith is tested even to the boiling point of hopelessness, but as the day dawns God's faithfulness will shine through even the valley of the shadow of death, bringing with it the answer to our request. Therefore He says for us to stand firm in our struggles of faith and trial and in a little while after we have suffered He will perfect and establish us in our journey with Him on the path of righteousness.
To count it joy in the midst of suffering seems ridiculous but it is necessary for us to remain in a state of praise and worship in order to persevere in the midst of whatever trial or temptation we are attempting to endure. Jesus was tempted in all things and comes to our aid when we are tempted or our faith is being tried and He is able to comfort us because He has been there before us to prepare the way. Without the comfort of Holy Spirit we would be in a fiery furnace of torment, but with His love and mercy we can always have victory.
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. I Peter 4:1
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. I Peter 4:12,13
In the past few weeks I have encountered more trials and tests at one time than I can remember. Recently we opened an office/warehouse where we train and equip individuals and ministries and store merchandise to sell in our benefit store and I have worked like a twenty year old in 130 degrees for weeks getting us moved in.
I had just started a series on faith in our Tuesday night sessions when all hell began to break loose! Several months ago prior to this upon encountering a mean spirit of ill will that was ravishing a family, I was asked to come and pray for the father who was dying of cancer when un-beknownst to me the entire family resented him for leading them into various legalistic fellowships over the years which built up into a major spirit of animosity. Unaware at the time I laid hands on the father, anointed him with oil and prayed for the family and left feeling good about the outcome. On Tuesday morning I got a call from the wife that her husband had died.
After receiving the call I rushed over to console the family who cornered me in the kitchen arguing about doctrine and the condition of the man's soul as he lay dead in the bedroom while the funeral home struggled to get him out of the house. I thought to myself if they were so worried about his eternal destination why didn't they speak up when he was alive. I quickly prayed, blessed them and got out while the getting was good and haven't heard anything since. Shortly afterword's my blood pressure went off the charts and I knew in my spirit that a full blown demon of ill will had attacked me.
To make a long story short I woke up one Monday morning with my heart skipping beats and my blood pressure soaring again so I began to pray and fast to break the power of the enemy that was attacking me and on the next day woke up feeling like I was about to die. The only thing I could do was to go into my office and begin to write my will, leaning on my understanding and not on God's word. As I completed my will, even planning my funeral I began to feel a little better so I proceeded to start the car and take my wife to the office when I noticed a flat tire. I got the tire fixed, went home and took a nap, got up to pick up my wife when out of the corner of my eye I saw something moving on the floor of the bedroom, a three foot snake, I knew things were about to get worse!
After killing the snake, my wife wouldn't go back into the house so we got a motel room and again that night I thought I was going to die. The next morning I resumed my fast and the power of God healed me and I knew it was all a major test of my faith and I began to praise God for his deliverance and mercy. In the midst of the trial or even upon entering the valley of the shadow of death we must remember God's promise to be with us and that through His power we have the ability to overcome even when it looks as though there is no hope! Trust in the Lord with all of your heart!
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:17,18
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
Endurance is perfected in us when we suffer in the flesh and resist the temptation to either stand and take God at His word or give in to our own understanding of what is happening to us and take things into our own hands. It is necessary for trials and temptations to come in order for us to learn how to overcome in the midst of that which comes against us and trains us for battle in the spiritual realm.
When one works out his goal is for the exercise to build stamina even though for a while he is left sore and in pain but afterward he realizes the rewards of his labor by being in better shape. So it is in the kingdom, God tests everything He creates always working in us for our good to strengthen us to withstand evil and learn to fight the good fight of faith even in our weakness and unbelief. The more we trust Him the more trials come to test what we have believed for and the more we believe the stronger our faith becomes leading us to have victory.
Take the apostle Peter for instance who stands out among his brethren because he took chances and chose to take the Lord Jesus at His word. He chose to believe the revelation that God gave him about who Jesus was and received the keys of the kingdom even though Satan demanded to sift him like wheat. He walked on water because Jesus told him he could but when he took his eyes off the Master he begin to sink leaning on his own understanding. Peter trusted in God's word and stretched out his spiritual muscles eventually becoming a mighty man of God although he endured much suffering in the midst of his trials of faith. Are you suffering through a test of your faith, if so, don't waver, stand firm and take God at His word, He will never leave you or forsake you and just count it all joy!
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever! Amen. I Peter 5:6-11