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Philippians 4:4: Paul said, “rejoice in the Lord,” Jesus said, “blessed are those who mourn,” James said,?
Matthew 5:4 (UASV)
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Philippians 4:4 (UASV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
James 1:2 (UASV)
2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials,
Edward D. Andrews wrote, “At times, it may simply be a case of needing to slow down and carefully read the account, considering exactly what is being said.” If we slow down and get at what Paul, Jesus and James meant by what they said, we will see there are no contradictions.
Those who mourn that Jesus was speaking of do not mourn because they are sitting around complaining about their lot in life. These ones are mourning because they are sad over their imperfection and fall short as servants of God. “Those who mourn” are the same kind of people as those who are “poor in spirit.” In verse 3, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.” (5:3) “Blessed are those who [are poor in spirit] recognize they are spiritually helpless …” (GOD’S WORD Translation) The Greek word ptochos means “beggar.” The “poor in spirit” is an alternative literal rendering. The meaning is that the “beggar/poor in spirit” are aware of their spiritual needs as if a beggar or the poor were aware of their physical needs. So, why are those who mourn “blessed” or “happy”? Because they have placed complete trust in the Father and the Son and know that both are loving and merciful. The father knows that we are but dust and that he has offered up his Son so that we can be declared righteous even though we are imperfect at this time. This insight comforts those who mourn over their awareness that they are imperfect, ‘recognizing they are spiritually helpless,’ yet God has made a way out for them. – John 3:16, 36.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Suppose we are to rejoice in our serving Jesus. In that case, we must set aside all unrealistic expectations in light of our imperfections and human weaknesses and the fact that Satan is the god of the world at this time, ruling with millions of demons. If we believe that we are exempt from the difficulties and tribulations of Satan’s world and our fallen flesh, this would be an unrealistic expectation. On this, Edward D. Andrews wrote,
Proverbs have caused some difficulty in many churches because they are treated like absolutes or guarantees; if we do A, we will get B. Proverbs are not to be applied in this sense in an imperfect world with imperfect people. The best phrase that we can put before the proverb is “generally speaking.” Let us look at Proverbs 22:6 as our example; it says, “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV) Let us look at an easy version of this, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (NLT) Is this an absolute guarantee that if I raise my children in the best way, they will not leave it when they get older? No. Let us place our phrase in front of it. ‘Generally speaking,’ if you direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.’
Yes, genuine Christians are not exempt from this fallen, imperfect human condition and Satan’s world. However, if we apply the Word of God, generally speaking, we will find success where unbelievers will usually not. For example, because we see life as sacred, we would not smoke, rub, or chew tobacco products. Therefore, we would avoid all health-related issues that an unbeliever would be opening themselves up to if they used such products. Therefore, Christians who obey God’s Word can rejoice in their service to the Lord. Just because we are imperfect, and suffer from human weaknesses, our rejoicing does not mean that we become tolerant of our imperfection, using our human weaknesses as an excuse for bad conduct or our slowing down in our service to the Lord. God wants our service to Him to be carried out with joy because Satan raised the argument that man only serves God for what he can get from him, not because he loves him. (Job 1:9-11) God does not want our service to be dutiful but without joy. God wants our service to come from a willing heart.
James 1:2-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials,
Consider it all joy (1:2a)
James starts his letter by asking that these believers consider the trials that they were currently going through. James wanted his readers to think about why they were having their trials, which referred to any trial that took place in their lives so that his readers would have the proper perspective of the trial before they can actually know how to handle them when they come. Once they had the right mindset of their trials, they could consider it all joy. The Greek word for joy is (χαρά chara), which refers to anything that causes joy or delight or brings cheer and dispels gloom or despair. This joy is not in going through the trial but in what that trial will produce in their lives. James wants his readers to understand that God is the one who allowed imperfection to come into humanity for a particular reason. (Matt. 20:28; Rom 5:12, 18) They can then consider any trial with a response of joy, an opportunity for them to show an evident demonstration of their faith. Do not believe that God placed these trials here to grow their faith, but rather, because the trials (difficult times) are here because of human imperfection, here was their opportunity to grow from the difficult times.
my brothers (1:2b)
In the Scriptures, ‘brothers’ often refer to both men and women and is simply a writing convention (rules of writing). James here is not referring to his physical family but rather to his spiritual family. Jesus says the same things in Matthew 12:50 “For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Apostle Paul was very fond of using the word brother in his letters to the churches. James calling them brothers signifies that he is in a spiritual relationship with them through Jesus Christ, and they are bound together in the unity of Christ and part of a spiritual family. James uses the word brother in his short letter 14 times and writes with sincerity of heart to his spiritual family.
when you encounter various trials (1:2c)
James makes an affirmative statement when he writes when you encounter various trials. This does not mean that these believers might face trials (difficulties, problems) but rather that they were currently in the midst of trials. The Greek word that James uses here for trials (πειρασμός peirasmos) means examination, that is, examining someone closely, “testing for proof or putting to the test.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 622) This is God allowing us to endure the difficulties and problems of human imperfection to learn our true nature or character and serve as an object lesson. This word is often used in the scriptures to refer to testing or temptation, and the context upon which it is used tells which one it is. James mentions some of these believers’ trials, such as poverty (James 2:15) and oppression from the rich. (James 5:1-5) James says these were to encounter various trials, which signifies that the trials these believers were facing came in many different forms.
We will find nowhere in all the Scriptures where the believers in the Lord were spared from having life difficulties. Even tough and challenging times in life were common for Christians as well. So many of the holy ones faced challenges. The Apostle Paul tells us that, by faith, Abraham, when he was tested, as good as offered up Isaac. The Israelites rejected Moses, who God had explicitly sent, so Moses had to endure dealing with Pharaoh. Joseph had to face the trials of being blamed for a rape he did not commit and then be put into prison unfairly for almost thirteen years. Nehemiah and Ezra suffered the agony of the moral decay around them, and their enemies constantly tried to destroy their work and instill fear in the people. Daniel was placed in the lion’s den, and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, all had to face the fire of a great furnace for their remaining faithful. Isaiah had to deal with the fact that nobody would listen to his message, though he would preach his heart out. Jeremiah was put into stocks, jailed, tar pits, and rejected by his family because he preached the wrath of God to his people. Then there was the mighty prophet Ezekiel who, when he confronted Ahab with the truth, was sought to be killed and known as the “troubler of Israel.”
We read about John the Baptist, who was put in prison and eventually beheaded for confronting King Herod in the New Testament. Peter was put in jail for preaching the gospel and ultimately killed on a cross for his faith. John was exiled to the island of Patmos for the word of God. Then there was the Apostle Paul, who was kicked out of many of the towns he went to for preaching the word of God. Paul makes mention of his trials in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 11:24-29.
 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1992). Page 482-483.
 Both brothers and sisters