“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2).
A multitude of misconceptions swirl around the Biblical word “joy”. Many confuse it with happiness. Others believe it is wholly determined by their circumstances, and thus they find it to be a fickle and fleeting thing. Some fail to realize that the amount of joy in their lives is a personal decision.
Note three truths about joy found in James’ words in this verse:
Joy is independent of your circumstances. The “various trials” James references are not anyone’s conception of ideal circumstances. Yet, joy in the midst of them is not only possible; it is commanded by God.
Joy is determined by your personal accounting method. You and you alone decide if and how often you count/reckon your circumstances and trials worthy of joy. In the financial world, it is possible for something viewed as a liability in one accounting method to be counted as an asset in another. The same is true spiritually.
Deep, abundant joy in Christ is a continuous possibility, even when your life is at its hardest. Of what genuine value is Christ and His gospel if they are useless during your darkest, most difficult days? Paul’s epistle of joy (Philippians) was written near the end of five challenging years of imprisonment.