First of all, I want to say thank you for all the comments, responses, and prayer requests. I hear from many people every day, and I am so thankful to be able to receive such heartfelt communication from you.
The Bible says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The clue in this verse to having this overcoming, virtuous power is found in the words “in Me.” He says, “…In Me you may have peace….” You may be asking yourself right now, How can I find peace with so much trouble around me? This has been my question lately, and I believe I found an answer to this question in the first chapter of James.
James was the half-brother of Jesus and the leader of the church at Jerusalem. His congregation was suffering, and he was trying to help and encourage them. As their pastor, James wrote to them and addressed their problems — and he began doing that right at the beginning of his letter.
James started the second verse of his letter with the words, “My brethren.” By using the words my brethren, he was saying that he understood what they were going through and that the same things had happened to him. He continued, “…Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2).
Can’t you hear his congregation thinking to themselves, How can we get joy from trials? This is a very good question. But James knew something they didn’t know — or something they had forgotten. Verse 3 begins with the word “knowing.” In other words, there was something that they were supposed to know — and it is something that we are supposed to know too.
Again, you can imagine what this congregation was thinking as they read this letter: What are we supposed to know? All we know and all we can say is that we’re experiencing overwhelming problems that are trying to overtake us. But James, being confident and steady, said, “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:3).
I once thought — and maybe you have thought this also — that this “testing” James mentioned was from God. But, no, this testing was not from God. This kind of testing is from the fallen world, but it should always meet up with our faith and our knowledge of the truth.
A big weapon you have against the pressure of a test that’s exerting its power to try to crush you is the mighty power of joy inside you! When you choose joy in the midst of a test or trial, you learn something: You learn that the very thing that is trying to break you can be overcome by rejoicing because God is going to help you through it, and you’ll also learn that you will come out stronger and more powerful than when you first went into that test or trial.
I’m going to show you that when you go through a test God’s way, that test will produce some really powerful things in you that will help you overcome future tests and trials. One of these powerful things is supernatural joy, because supernatural joy generates “hang-in-there” power. That means when the storms of life come, you will not be knocked over by the winds and the waves because the patience and hang-in-there power that have developed in you will hold you steady and embolden you against the storm so that you can keep standing. You will be like a palm tree that stays rooted in the midst of horrific hurricane winds of 100 mph or higher. You will just be standing there, holding your ground and declaring to the storm, “I will not be moved!” What is that power that is in you? It is the Greater One standing with you against the storm or trial!
Dear friend, that’s why we can count it all joy. We may not like the trial, but joy will destroy the gripping power of doubt, fear, depression, self-pity, and the desire to give up. And as a result, that great hang-in-there power will cause us to be better and stronger believers.
James 1:4 reminds us that if we will let patience finish its work, we will “be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Now that’s power! But this overcoming power doesn’t mean that everything will always go our way and that we’ll get to bypass difficulties. That would be nice, but life is not like that. The real power is that, by faith, we can count it all joy and watch God change us into powerful, patient, loving, stable, confident, and more forgiving believers. That is why we can count it all joy!
You might be facing some kind of difficulty right now that has the power to knock you down. But the hang-in-there power of the Holy Ghost that is working on the inside of you — that power of the Holy Spirit residing in you — is a conquering power and is greater than any opposing force. Let me say it like this: When we count it all joy, we are turning on the switch to receive the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to not give up. The Third Person of the Godhead is taking hold of that problem with us and bringing it into subjection to the joy that He has produced in us. Oh, glory to Jesus! What a Savior we have to help us through life’s tests, trials, and storms!
If you don’t have my new book, Unstoppable, I want to encourage you to get it. You’ll be able to read about others who have pushed through seemingly overwhelming odds but didn’t give up, and they received their reward from God.
Thank you so much for spending time with me, and please let me know how we can pray for you. You can call us at 1.800.742.5593 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our power-packed prayer team is waiting to hear from you!
And please join me on my weekly program, TIME With Denise Renner, Mondays at 7:00 a.m. CT on YouTube and Facebook! You can also find me on Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT on GospelTruthTV. We have such a wonderful time diving into the Word of God, and I would love for you to jump in with us!
Rick and I and our entire family and ministry team pray for you continually, and we bless you in Jesus’ mighty name! Remember — whatever the season or whatever the storm — embrace the power of the Holy Spirit to count it all joy!
We are moving forward together,