Joy in Temptations???

James 1:2 (KJV)

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Wait a minute – did I read that right?  Joy in tribulation?  James, how can you say such a thing?  I mean, after all, I dread temptation.  When they come, the worst in me usually comes out.  I start to fear and worry and I usually get sad, wondering if God will get mad at me. I feel guilty and unforgiven.   I would always prefer that temptations would stay as far away as possible.  And you want me to count temptation as joy?

That is the way I felt about this verse for years at the beginning of my walk with Christ.  I could not understand how temptation could equate to joy, even after I read the next two verses.  But then I started to learn two important things – joy and God’s mercy.  Getting the right perspective on these two things changed my view of this verse.

The joy of the Lord should never be based on my circumstances.  Never.  It is deep down inside of me and it is always there.  What I had not learned yet is how to call upon it when I am in a position that would cause most people to lose their joy.  That is simple – just start to praise the Lord!  Yup, that’s right!  Praising the Lord is huge in getting us into the joy of the Lord.  Why?  Because it takes my mind off the problem and puts it where it truly belongs – on the one who can solve the problem!  That gives me joy!

Then there is God’s mercy.  I forgot about how forgiving He is. When I am being tempted, I forget about His sacrifice because I am too worried about me.  That is pride, plain and simple.  I should never fear that God will not forgive me, or be mad at me, or give up on me, because He won’t (Rom 8:31-40).  Just because temptations come does not change His thoughts about me – I am precious to Him (Psalm 139:17, 149:4), and I always will be.  I am His child, and He is my Father.

A closer look at this verse makes me pause at the words “fall into”.  Temptation is always beneath us.  After all, you can not fall into something that is higher than you – it;s physically impossible.  The word fall here has the connotation of not just falling, but falling into the middle of something.  It’s almost like one minute we are just walking along fine, then then the next the ground has give way and we find ourselves in the midst of a den of snakes.  YIKES!  Isn’t that how temptations are?  One minute we are fine, the next they are overwhelming.  We have “Fallen into”them.

Why is that important?  Because this means that it is not our normal path.  Somehow, the temptation has snared us and taken us off the normal path, and we are in it.  That means all we have to do is find our way back to the normal path, and everything will be OK.

To find my way back to the normal path, I suggest there are two things we need.  Yes, only two. The first is directions.  How do I get out of here?  This place I have fallen into seems impossible to get out of.  What do I need to do to escape?  We have probably all seen it in the movies.  Someone falls into a big hole and in trying to get out the sides keep giving way, or they can’t get a solid enough grip to help themselves up.  They must get help from someone else – someone who knows all about the hole they have fallen into.

Secondly, I must have a light. it can get dark when we have fallen into something.  Darkness is not a good place to be, even if you are not afraid of the dark.

God constantly surprises me. I started writing this blog Saturday night and got to this point and stopped. I really hadn’t planned on going into the “fall” information that I’m sharing now but it just struck me as interesting. Little did I know what God had in store for me Sunday morning.

My pastor’s message really touched me and went along so well with what I’m talking about here.  He discussed the fact that we need to have a firm foundation in Christ but above all a firm foundation in the Word of God.   This firm foundation will keep us from falling into (and he use those exact words) the ways of this world. He mentioned the fact that the world is all around us, crowding us in, trying to distract us in any way it can. This word fall can also be interpreted as being surrounded by something.  Isn’t it true that we are surrounded by temptations all the time.? The advertising world thrives in tempting us to buy this product or buy that product and it’s not unusual that they use sexualized images to do that. The allure of  glamour,  power and wealth are all around us trying to draw us in and make us fall into their trap.
We need a firm foundation in the word of God to keep us from falling.   Remember the Word is a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105),  It is also our instruction manual, giving us direction and wisdom for our daily lives (Prov 3:6).  The Word is that sure foundation that will never change, never pass away (Matt 24:35) We can depend on it to keep us from falling in, and to help us get back out when we do fall.
 In my next post, we will see what we need to know about this verse, and why James says it is joy to fall into these temptations.  Stay tuned!
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29 thoughts on “Joy in Temptations???

    1. Pete Post author

      You’re not alone on that Scott. It took me a long time to get this through my head and spirit, and I still don’t always have that joy I should. But it’s getting easier to walk in joy the more I see how much he loves me and wants me to be joyful! You’re gong the right direction, though, and that’s the main thing@!

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  1. SR

    Hey Pete,

    This is absolutely one of the best post you have written. “The joy of the Lord should never be based on my circumstances.” THAT is the one that spoke to me.

    So many times I get so caught up in my environment and circumstances in life. I can give somebody “what for” at my kitchen sink when no one is here but myself. 🙂 It always begins with the dwelling.

    How dare they say that to me. How dare they do that to me. Oh, my hot water heater just went out, now I have to mess with that. My back hurts. The list is continual.

    All of a sudden I realize my dwelling and how I respond to it, has taken up most of my day. Finally when I am completely worn out, I take a breath, look up at God and say, “Thank you.”

    Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that I would do that at the end, and not at the beginning, does it? LOL!

    Again great post and thanks so much for sharing it with us. God Bless, SR

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    1. Pete Post author

      I found it! It had somehow gotten in the trash – NOT ME! Or at least not on purpose. I loved this response and thank you for the comment. I think I answered your question on the comment you sent to replace this one.

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      1. SR

        Also sent one on your last comment to me. About the joy and pride. I know that one did not go through. Is it in your trash also? God Bless, SR

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      1. SR

        No. I left one about your post. Want to tell you, you got a complement on the post I did yesterday about the person who attacked me. Go check it out. Her husband has terminal cancer and I have been blogging with them for years, as well as we have formed a personal friendship, emails, etc… He was supposed to have been dead about four years ago. He has really suffered and so has she. When have time will give you link to their blogs they are on my follow list. I think you can be of great help to them. God Bless, SR

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      2. Pete Post author

        Nothing in Spam. I view and reply to am to of my comments on my phone. I just went through on my computer, and am not sure what other comment you are referring to. Did you maybe leave it on the string attached to your own post?

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      3. Pete Post author

        I know you left one about this being one of my best posts, but now I don’t see it – odd! I responded to that one as well. Seems that chain disappeared somewhere. But I do remember reading it, although I don;t remember all the kinds things you said!

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  2. Array

    Okay gonna try this again!
    The line which got me was, “My joy in the Lord should never be based on my circumstance.”
    This is so true, Pete. In myself, it always comes from my “dwelling.” Satan plants the thought, then we dwell, then we sin.
    I can really give someone “what for” in my home, when no one else is here. 🙂
    Things like how dare you say that to me? How dare you do that to me? The hot water heater went out and now I have to deal with that all day. My back hurts. Just whatever.
    I will dwell on these things and then at the end of the day look up at God and say, “Thank you.” Of course this comes after such mental exhaustion.
    Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? If I am going to do it at the end of the day, why not do it at the beginning, throughout, and the end.
    Another thing I want to ask you and see what you think. As I have been contemplating on this post and trying to figure out “why should we have joy during these moments of temptation,” this is what I came up with.
    We are supposed to be Christ-like. Now how can we do this without knowing some of what He suffered only on a smaller scale? Should our joy come because during temptation we are suffering some of what He suffered, when Satan tempted Him and when He suffered the “Agony in the Garden.” I have always believed this is when our sins hit Jesus and this was His worse temptation, and that is why He sweated Blood.
    Should our “joy” be that we are living and feeling some of what He went through, how He dealt with it, making us more Christ-like? Just some of my ponderings on this. God Bless, SR

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    1. Pete Post author

      Phil 3:10 says “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”. Notice the middle words — the fellowship of His sufferings. I do not think this has anything to do with our joy. I think it has more to do with our understanding more of what he went through and realizing we should have gone through that as a punishment for our sins. If you like, you can go to another blog I had where I wrote about this verse. https://wp.me/p5hrAF-5w.

      The joy I am speaking about is the fruit of the Spirit Joy. The joy that is always present, no matter what we are going through. It is not associated with good or bad things or circumstances. it is based deep down inside and is always there. No one can ever take it from us. They do not have access to it. The key s being able to summon that joy when it is most needed, and that comes through praise. That is what I was getting at n my post.

      One other thing that I am led to share here. When I was going through the battle against pride, something was shared with me that I will never forget. We are supposed to be dead in Christ and living through Him and Through the spirit. The works of the flesh are supposed to be dead. You have to keep that in mind to understand this saying. Here it is. “When I get offended, I have to ask myself what miserable piece of flesh is left in me that can still get offended?”

      Jesus never got offended, why do we? It is our pride that gets offended. And we are supposed to put that down. Now I am not trying to say you are prideful or anyone else is prideful, but only our flesh can get offended, – our spirit cannot. I would ask you to ponder over that.

      I hope this makes sense to you.

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  3. SR

    Thanks so much for the comment. Am understanding now where you are coming from on the “joy.” That is much to think about.

    I am also understanding what you are saying about the “pride,” and I know why you are saying it! 🙂

    Your right, each time something happens to us and it brings forth a reaction in us, a reaction which maybe does not need to be there, if we can control ourselves through it, we have gained ground on conquering that part of the flesh which is still in us. Gotcha! Have a great day and thanks so much for your help. God Bless, SR

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  4. SR

    Okay going to try again. Gees I will be so glad when this spam thing gets settled.

    I understand what you are saying about joy and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me on that.

    As far as the pride thing, and “I am not saying you are prideful.” LOL!!! I know why you told me this. LOL!!!!

    You are correct and I think when any of us are offended that is exactly how we need to look at it.
    Each time we can overcome something in the correct way, we are dying slowly to ourselves. Thanks a bunch, cannot wait for your post tomorrow, and God Bless, SR

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  5. SR

    Sorry Pete, just seeing if this goes through. Please feel free to delete. I just posted on another blog and it all went through fine and my name was ok. I am trying to see if it is mine or yours. God Bless, SR

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  6. SR

    Okay trying it again, to see if anything is working. Just to let you know Pete, all my comments are going through on everyone else’s blog but yours. I don’t know if it is your blog or mine? Please feel free to delete if it goes through. God Bless, SR

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  7. Path Without End

    It has been good to start my day with one of your “James” articles, and this one had so many good things in it! Really good. And I especially loved the whole “falling into” stuff, and how the sin or pit is beneath us, because we don’t fall up. I got a chuckle out of that. But on a personal note, as you know God has had me looking at Jesus on the cross and realizing that should be my prayer. To have the Passion of Christ. To be that crucified person. Not seeking any horrible death, but just so full of God’s love and Spirit that we take up our own cross. I noticed in one of your comments Philippians 3:10:…”being made conformable unto his death;”. The Apostle Paul really set the mark before us in those several verses he wrote. I still have this whole day ahead of me, and it is my prayer that as I live, Christ lives in me and has his way this day, not mine. Amen.

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    1. Pete Post author

      Thanks for the comment. The James study was revelationary to me. Lot’s of great points throughout the book of James.

      I feel led to share something with you that have rarely shared. When I was going through a spiritual battle want, I asked God to show me – really show me – the cross. I happened to be in a place that had a life-size cross that we could pray under. I was at that cross praying for the spiritual vision to Jesus suffering – His passion.

      I looked up and saw Jesus hanging there in all the gory details. It was torturous, and I looked at Him and wept. The scars, the nails, the pierced side, the crown of thorns, the agony on His face – it was overwhelming. I wept as I looked up at Him, thanking Him for what he dd for me. Once I took my eyes off that cross, the vision went away, and the empty cross stood here.

      That vision changed my life. I had a better understanding of the price He paid, the agony He suffered and the passion He had for us – to give His life for us – for me! Incredible!

      I’m not sure why God wanted me to share that with you, but there it is. May God grant you a similar vision i your quest to understand His passion.

      Be blessed

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      1. Path Without End

        Thanks for sharing that. I’m just seeing that even though we are blessed in Christ, and we have such potential here in America to live so blessed, it seems the heart of God is something closer to that cross. I want to know that heart better. This may sound weird, but I have been watching for the passing of Billy Graham for years. I have always suspected he was like a “marker”, like Methuselah in the O.T.. I plan to write something on it today. getting my thoughts together.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Pete Post author

        I imagine there will be a lot written abut that great man of God. He was before Kings and presidents and never lost His passion for the gospel. Who can take His place??

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