Welcome To The Light-Washed Path,
Joy is faith exerting itself over circumstances. It’s praising God for what you believe rather than just quietly having beliefs in the face of circumstances. It’s not idle contentment, but something more aggressive, more decisive.
James talks about meeting your trials and temptations with the force of joy. But first you must see temptations and trials as a challenge to your position in Christ, and an attack on your faith. The last thing a Christian should try to do is passively weather out the stormy trials and assailing temptations. But the way many people read James 1:2, and the words “Count” or ”Consider”, might suggest that we endure trials and temptations by “considering them as joy”. Or another way of putting it would be to say: we should try to think of our trials with happiness: Think happy thoughts.
Well I don’t know about you, but I hate temptations and don’t have any “happy thoughts” about them. They are vicious, bone-grinding attempts to defeat us. I can’t see how any “happiness” comes from temptations. The devils that poke at our weak spots are not our little grace-growing buddies. And mental passivity the last thing we should be showing them.
A closer look at the definition for the original Greek word, “Count”, shows that the word literally means to lead, i.e. command with official authority. This changes the whole force of the verse from passive to aggressive. The verse now reads:
James 1:2 My brethren, take the lead and command it all joy when ye fall into various temptations;
In other words, FIGHT BACK against your temptations and trials with JOY. Happiness depends on happenings but JOY is a force of the Spirit of God.
Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…
Your praise of God in the face of temptation is the means by which you OVERCOME it. Too many Christians set aside their joy until they “get over” their trial. But you aren’t called to “get over” your trials. You’re called to OVERCOME your trials.
Joy isn’t dependent upon circumstances either. It’s enforced by faith. If you truly believe that God has already provided your victory over circumstances then joy will exert what you believe by rejoicing in the Truth. That is the key to gladness. It’s not waiting for favorable circumstances, that brings gladness, but rejoicing because you already have favor with God in the midst of your circumstances. You REJOICE then you ARE glad. That’s how it works.
Psa. 40:16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee…
You see that Joy is an action taken upon the authority of Heaven. If you want to “be glad” rather than “fall into various temptations”, then “take the lead and command it all joy”. In other words, “Rejoice and be glad”.
Joy also involves authority. Our text talks about taking the lead and commanding it all joy. That requires authorization. We sometimes overlook the fact that this was one of Christs great purposes in restoration. Jesus was anointed to authorize your use of Joy in praising God. He gave you back the garment of glory which Adam lost. He has planted you in righteousness so that you might be identified with Him through your joy. In short, joy covers the nakedness that sin once exposed.
Isa. 61:1, 3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to appoint untothem that mourn in Zion, to give unto them the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Stay On The Path!