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Taking Your Faith to the Next Level, Part 1

12.26.17 | Victorious Living | by Doreen Comis

Taking Your Faith to the Next Level, Part 1
    This week, I want to talk about some key principles of faith, and how we can believe God to take our faith to the Next LevelFor our study, let’s open up to the Book of James:
     
    James 1:1-2
    1  James, a servant  of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to  the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.  2  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
     
    James begins his letter with an incredibly challenging command. He’s telling us that somehow, in some way, we should find joy in bad situations that happen to us. 

    Now honestly, you and I both know that is the exact opposite of what we feel when life hits the fan. There are trials that have come to all of us that many times we never saw coming and, you’re telling us, James, no matter what it is – we are to 
    “count it” joy? How could James write such a demanding thing to people who were experiencing times of horrific suffering?
     
    Notice in verse one, he is addressing his letter to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion. These were among the many Jewish believers who were fleeing persecution for their faith in Christ. When he wrote this, many in his audience were facing the jaws of lions! I mean really James…JOY???
     
    We have to always remember when reading scripture, if we are going to understand its meaning, we must read a passage within its context. In real estate we learn thatlocation, location, location is everything, right? Well, in bible interpretation we can say the same thing about context. Context is the framework “before and after.” In other words, we need to read what is said in light of all that’s being said in any particular passage to interpret its meaning properly. So, let’s unpack what these verses say carefully.
     
    It is important that we do not read into what James does NOT say. He does not command that Christians should "feel happy” when trials come. He commands us to "count it" joyful. In other words, we are being commanded to list this trial under the category of joy when determining its value to our life.  
     
    The word "count" is used in some translations instead of "consider." This word COUNT is from the Greek word hēgēsasthe, which is an accounting term. The word is used here as it relates to collecting things like money into a bank account. What James is implying here is that we should view our trial like a deposit not like a withdrawal.
     
    We can count it all joy because ultimately this affliction – whatever it may be - will ADD something to me – even though in the natural it looks like something was taken away (and, sometimes in the natural something has literally been taken away). What God wants us to see here is that there is an understanding that goes beyond our natural understanding regarding the trials and circumstances we face, and somehow, this trial is designed to give me something I could never receive apart from it.
     
    Although we may suffer initially with the hurt or disappointment that we are experiencing in the midst of our trial, James is telling us that within us is the power to count it as joyful. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but James is telling us we can control how we view these things as they happen. When bad things happen, we have the ability to choose how we see what’s going on as either a deposit or a withdrawal. 2 Corinthians 4:17 tells us, “…these momentary light afflictions are preparing me for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…”
     
    Seeing trials as a deposit rather than a withdrawal helps us take our faith to the Next LevelBe sure to check back next week for part two of this study.