Facing Trials And Listening For God’s Guidance

Many do not expect God to answer their prayers. Therefore, they do not listen for God to give a reply. We must become confident, as Christians, God is going to answer our prayers. God wants us to become strong in character and improve our endurance for living a holy life. He will continue to allow us to be tested, not to defeat us, but to improve that endurance that is needed to face the trials of life.

James 1:2 – 4 – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Most people are looking for happiness and joy in their lives. Do you know very many people who have found lasting happiness? Happiness and pleasure is usually a temporary state that we received from favorable sources. When these external circumstances become unfavorable we often find ourselves unhappy.

We may be happy when we win but unhappy when we lose. We may be delighted when we receive recognition or financial reward. But how long does happiness last? External situations change so often. Happiness can fade rather rapidly. Many times the unhappiest people are those seemingly having everything that most of us are dreaming for; yet, they do not always seem too happy.

Human nature seeks to be happy and joyful. When we find happiness difficult to achieve, many seek addictions as an escape from the frustrations of life. It is our carnal nature or human nature to look to the world for happiness, pleasure and joy. Does an alcoholic find joy in drinking? Does an obese person find happiness in overeating? Many find themselves in an unhappy situation and are looking for ways to change their external surroundings.

The entire world is looking for joy in their lives as defined in Webster’s dictionary. It is described as an emotional feeling of having good things, living a delightful life and generally having a feeling of gladness. It may be a state of bliss or gaiety. Many come to Las Vegas looking for that kind of joy, happiness and pleasure. How many find it and how long does it last? We have lived here 41 years and we haven’t seen too many find lasting happiness and joy in casinos.

We look for joy and happiness in marriage. If happiness fades, we look for other means of finding happiness. We continually ask the question: “How can I become joyful and stay that way?” You may not always find happiness. But, there is a joy that can take the place of happiness.

Many do not realize there are two kinds of joy: worldly joy and spiritual joy. It is unreasonable to think we will always be confronted with pleasant circumstances. But it isn’t unreasonable to expect and to always have a spiritual joy. This is the joy that is given by the Holy Spirit. This joy is described as a “fruit” of the Spirit. It is a “joy” that is continuous and is experienced even going through difficult times. This is an inner spiritual joy that comes only from God.

Show me a Christian who has been given the “fruits of the Spirit” as described in Galatians 5:22 – 23 and you will see a person who is full of Christ, non-divisive, neither an arguer nor a constant complainer. They have the heart of a servant. They are filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are the people who face trials, pray to God and listen to God for an answer and then follow His guidance. These are the people who have that inner spiritual joy that Scripture promises, is available to Christians.

The Apostle Paul says it was this inner joy that encouraged him during his times of imprisonment and his many trials. It is this spiritual joy that encouraged Paul to press on and be enthusiastic toward the goal of living for Christ as he encountered difficult eternal circumstances. We can have the same joy that Paul had, a spiritual joy that keeps us positive through unhappy times. The joy we are talking about does not come from an abundance of things. It does not come from the externals of life. It can only be received from the Holy Spirit as a “fruit” from Him. Read what Scripture has to say:

Acts 13:52 – The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 14:17 – God fills your heart with joy. John 16:22 – Jesus says, “No one will take away your joy.” John 15:16 – “I chose you, (talking to His disciples), and appointed you to bear fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” I Peter 1:8 – (Commentary) this spiritual joy possess the radiance of God’s glory. It is a joy that comes from heaven. It is a joy that can only come from being in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The “fruit of joy” is always dependent upon living a vital relationship with Christ. It cannot be fabricated for it is spiritual and comes from the heart. Having this spiritual joy can keep you from seeking the world’s lusts and pleasures, which so many do. Daily we must die out to this self-centered nature we all have. Focus on Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to help each of us to totally surrender so that we can be filled with joy.

Normal people do not enjoy trials. In fact, most of us do everything possible to avoid the trials of life. However, James says we are to face trials with joy-pure joy. God wants to make us patient because that is the key to every other blessing. When the believer learns to wait on the Lord, then God can do great things for him. The only way the Lord can develop patience and character in our lives is through trials. It is essential that we go through the difficulties of life, trust God and obey Him. Therefore, when we go through trials we can become bitter or accept them with pure joy knowing it is God’s will and they will build patience and character.

I wrote a blog that has been read by approximately 2100. You can search it on the right of this page or go to Google, Bing or Yahoo. “HOW SCRIPTURE TELLS US TO DEAL WITH PRESSURE”. It deals with some of the same trials and pressures if you want further information.

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