Joy is a celebration.
“Then the Israelites, including the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the exiles, celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy…They observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days with joy, because the Lord had made them joyful, having changed the Assyrian king’s attitude toward them, so that he supported them in the work on the house of the God of Israel.” (Ezra 6:16&22 CSB)
When the Temple of God was rebuilt, the Israelites were full of joy. They were celebrating in God’s Presence that the work of God, that was ordained to them, had been completed. This wouldn’t have been a little celebration, either. It would’ve been full of music and dancing and thanksgiving to God.
Joy is also part of the Fruit of the Spirit and comes from being in HIs Presence with gratitude and thanksgiving.
All of this paints a better picture of what James meant when he said, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials…“
Joy isn’t Happiness.
I’ve always thought of it this way:
“Be happy and smile, clap your hands with giddiness because you are experiencing trials for Jesus’ sake.”
But that is incorrect. Happiness is an earthly emotion, otherwise it would be listed as a fruit. No, what we’re supposed to do is come before God in celebration. We are to sing songs of praise to Him, coming with thanksgiving and gratitude before Him.
It should be more like:
“Throw a celebration full of gratitude to God. Dwell in His Presence and throw a celebration, even before your enemies that they may see the Presence of God in your life. Count it a celebration that these trials are happening.”
Celebrate because your enemy has come against you because of your heart for God and the righteousness you have in Him. Dwell in God’s Presence where celebration for Him and His good works abound. Stand before the enemy, celebrating God’s very name in their presence. Celebrate knowing that His good work which He has called you to, is being completed.
Count it all joy. Stand and celebrate.