How can we – flawed human beings with selfish tendencies – ever reflect God’s flawless image? We must humbly submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit. If we, as followers of Christ, are truly abiding by His Word, then we will reflect His character. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23a)
And character shows up best when we are under trials. “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7) When we come through trials refined by them, it is a gift our Father gives us–to become perfected in His image.
How we choose to go through those trials is all in the attitude we take. We can bemoan our circumstances, or we can praise the One who has promised to bring us through our trials. Our attitude has everything to do with our spiritual growth. “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.” (James 1:2-4)
When by faith we submitted our lives to Jesus’s lordship, we humbly admitted to Him that we needed His grace and mercy in our lives in order to change us into new beings. We must trust that He knows what He is doing in our lives to perfect us. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
In our carnal nature, we can’t obtain the fruit of the Spirit. It is only through the Holy Spirit leading us in our trials that we learn:
- To truly love
- Experience joy in Christ
- Have a peace that surpasses all understanding
- Gain the fortitude to withstand the trials
- Learn to be kind because Jesus has been kind to us
- To be good and act in a manner that is pleasing to our Father
- Remain faithful to our Lord
- Be gentle with others, and
- Become self-controlled (not giving into to our sinful nature)
When we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, we are reflecting our Lord! So yes, trials are the perfect gift from the Lord to develop and mature us for His purposes for us. That’s how we can “count it all joy”.