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Have you ever asked yourself the following: "How do I respond when I must suffer through an extended illness? How do I react when the enemy stirs up my family or friends to persistently harass and persecute me?

"How do I bear up under lengthy trials as opposed to brief ones? How am I honestly conducting myself in the midst of the trials which I am experiencing right now?"

The answers to these questions are very important, because if a believer's disposition or his character or even his countenance changes during the time of trial, then he is to some extent overcome of that trial.

According to 2 Peter 2:19, "...of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." Believers who change during their trials are therefore in danger of coming into bondage to the enemy.

Since the source of every trial is Satan, multitudes of believers are thus unknowingly serving the enemy during the time of their trials. These people may be "strong in the Lord" and in the power of His might (Eph. 6:10)—that is, until they encounter a trial.

Then, they suddenly lose all their strength; their whole character, disposition and countenance changes. They begin serving the enemy. For in faltering, they are allowing themselves to be overcome by their trials.

Admittedly, they may be ignorant of their servitude to Satan; nevertheless, it is true to a certain degree.

On the other hand, if a believer goes through a trial and others are unable to detect it, then despite his suffering, he is not in real bondage to the enemy. He has not allowed that trial to defeat him. There are not many believers today who overcome trials to the degree that their countenance or disposition does not betray their affliction.

This is unfortunate, for such people are the few true overcomers in the Church today.

The reason there are so few real overcomers in the Church of Jesus Christ is because so few Christians have the fruit of joy in their individual lives. Joy is the strength that enables a person to remain steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58).

In essence, joy is a preventative fruit that protects against falling into bondage and servitude to the enemy of God.

The following scripture reveals the response that God desires of His children during times of trial:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
(1 Peter 4:12-13)
God wants His children to rejoice even in times of trial. Since the flesh does not want to do this, the only way to be obedient to the will of God as expressed in 1 Peter 4:12-13 is through the development of the fruit of joy.

Jesus Christ has not called His followers to be unstable. It is not His desire that they change during their trials. On the contrary, He wants stability in those who follow Him. His life set forth this example.

Jesus was tempted with everything that we believers are tempted with today. He went through trials of sickness, of oppression, of depression, and of persecution; but His character and His disposition never changed. His trials never even showed on His countenance.

It is not recorded in scripture that any of His followers ever once looked at Jesus and asked, "What's the matter, Master? Have a rough day?" Jesus had developed joy in His life so that it produced one-hundredfold fruit:
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
(Heb. 12:3-4)
Perhaps Jesus experienced His greatest trial in the Garden of Gethsemane. He resisted giving in to this trial to the point that He sweat great drops of blood.

He was striving against sin so much that He resisted unto blood. He overcame this trial and honored the Father's will. The source of the strength that enabled Him to overcome is revealed in Hebrews 12:2: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

It was joy which gave Jesus the strength to overcome and not serve the enemy.

Is there a believer today who has yet resisted unto blood in order to do the will of God? Most of us today must shamefully admit that, on the contrary, our faces have often been windows publicly spotlighting and displaying our trials for all to see.

Yet our trials are not even close to the magnitude of the trial that Jesus endured in the Garden. Through cultivating and developing the fruit of joy, however, we will gain strength to overcome the various trials of life, regardless of their magnitude or length.

Source: A Call For Character by Greg Zoschak.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Greg Zoschak
Web site: Greg Zoschak
Greg Zoschak's lifelong ambition was to become a professional football player, and became born again through the influence of his high school coach. Years later, Greg began to feel a call to the ministry, but football kept tugging at him as well. A motorcycle accident later on forced him to discontinue his pursuit of football; at that time, his ambitions began to change and pull him toward God.

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