Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Mary, did you know when the angel entered your home and said you were favored by the Lord that there would be many trials?…
When the angel entered her home, he greeted her and said, “You are favored by the Lord! The Lord is with you.”
29 She was startled by what the angel said and tried to figure out what this greeting meant.
30 The angel told her,
“Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God.
31 You will become pregnant, give birth to a son,
and name him Jesus.
32 He will be a great man
and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his ancestor David.
33 Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever,
and his kingdom will never end.”
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be? I’m a virgin.”
35 The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy child developing inside you will be called the Son of God.
36 “Elizabeth, your relative, is six months pregnant with a son in her old age. People said she couldn’t have a child. 37 But nothing is impossible for God.”
38 Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.”
The response of FAITH and pure JOY!…”Let everything you’ve said happen to me.”
Mary, did you know that trials would engulf your family and attempt to steal your joy when Joseph woke up from a dream and said your family had to flee to Egypt because Herod was plotting to kill all the male children two years old and younger?
Mary, did you know that the trial of misplacing your preteen son, who was also fully God, during the Festival of the Passover for three days would cause you great anxiety?
48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Mary, did you know the trial of watching your son, the Savior of the world, being beaten and crucified would cause anguish and grief?
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Mary, did you know that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection would trade pieces of faded joy for a cup overflowing with everlasting life? Just as the angel said decades prior, “Nothing is impossible for God.”
I’m reminded this Christmas season that not everything is jolly and bright. We must be sensitive to those around us and the trials they are going through. In fact, YOU are probably going through some trials of your own! As believers, it is our duty to carry each other’s burdens.
Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Truly, Christ carries us and ALL of our burdens but this passage reminds us to be outwardly focused.
~This Christmas season, there are families that will attempt to cook their family Christmas dinner without a loved one. Tears replace laughter.
~This Christmas season, there are co-workers who are lonely and seeking to fill a great void in their lives that only the risen Christ can seal. Depression replaces peace.
~This Christmas season, there are single parents struggling to pay rent and feed their children while the world continues to spiral out of control. Chaos replaces security.
~This Christmas season, there are neighbors in your community who won’t be able to see their loved ones leaving them all alone for the holidays. Silence replaces chatter.
~This Christmas season, there are foster children begging for a permanent loving home. Sadness replaces contentment.
~This Christmas season, there are souls all across the globe who are either lost, hurt, or struggling. Trials replace hope.
No matter where you see yourself (or others), trials produce spiritual perseverance. Therefore, this Christmas season, we take notes from the greatest overcomer: Jesus Christ. Despite the various trials He experienced, He ACCOMPLISHED what He came to do: To seek and save the lost.
Oh dear child! That simply gives me chills. He seeks you! The eyes of the Lord are upon you even in your desperate time of need. I challenge you to trade your faded joy for Christmas hope!
This type of hope does not come in a pretty package. It cannot be bought, and you will NEVER find it in a store. You will find Him [HOPE] this season wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Do not be dismayed…this baby changes everything!
I’m thankful for my dear wife, Aimee, for sending me the picture of her coffee mug this morning with the title: faded joy. It is overwhelming to see the Holy Spirit speak and use her as He does.