Thursday, October 11, 2012

James 1:2-3

Based off a Trekkers Bible Study, November 6, 2010

Count it all Joy
"consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3

How easy is that? Think about it. Let's say you FINALLY get a puppy after waiting for your parents to say yes for 12 and a half years. (personal experience) Can you count it all joy? Duh! Can you count it all joy when you're snuggling with your new puppy? When he's exploring your house and pees on your favorite shoes? How about when that puppy cries all night and you end up sleeping with it on the kitchen floor? Can you count it all joy? Well he was still new... What about when it's -30 degrees outside and your puppy needs to go out, AGAIN. Can you count it all joy? And when you just open the door and let him out and stay inside, a half hour later realizing he's not in the backyard anymore and you have to go look for him? Find any joy in that?

Ok maybe my examples are silly. But obviously there are things in life that can be harder to see positively than others. When something bad happens, how many times is the first thing that comes to mind "Count it all joy"? How many times can you count it all joy?

Why should we? The verse answers that question. "You know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance". Perseverance, or steadfastness, or like a stronger faith. That's what we're aiming for. Trials do not reveal to you the steadfastness or the perseverance you already have, they develop it. You can't have strong faith without it. Read the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5. You'll read phrases like "Blessed are those who are persecuted, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the poor in spirit". Do you see any "Blessed are those who have no trials and go through life all happy and live happily ever after?" Um, no. Trials are a part of life, you can always choose to live in denial or to escape from them, but then where would your rewards be? Where would your trust in God be?

Can you imagine a life that had no ups and downs, simply just a straight, easy ride? Personally that sounds pretty boring to me. I don't see how that life would be worth living. If I had to choose, I would much rather live a life with many ups and downs, so I could learn, so I could grow, so I could develop stronger faith. Trials can really suck, yeah I realize that. It's like satan knows EXACTLY the thing you don't want to be tested on, and he goes right at it. Maybe there's ONE thing in your life you just want to hold on to, but that's the one thing God seems to want to take away from you.

I have never really asked for a trial to happen. I've never been one to pray "Jesus, bring the rain". But in the end, I am always thankful because I can see looking back how much stronger my faith has become. But just think, what if I could learn to thank God and count it all joy while the trial is happening, because I KNOW He will work it out. Because I KNOW he is working it out every moment of the trial. And I KNOW that my faith is getting stronger each day while I wait.

What is joy? Something I once heard, "Happiness comes from happenings, Joy comes from Jesus". Joy is like being content with life. Joy is experiencing the kingdom of Heaven every day in life. Joy is having a complete relationship with God.

No trial that God gives you will ever exceed what God has given you. What should you do? Immerse yourself in the Bible so that you start to think like God, and so that you know scripture enough to help you stand firm during trials.

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