Friday, May 31, 2013

James 2

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] 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

As Christians this is the view we are to take of trials. We are to embrace our trials and our difficult circumstances, finding joy and comfort in the growth they will produce in our spiritual lives. If we are living in sold out obedience to God and his will we will take this approach when we are faced with trials. Yet, we are given free will which means this joyful outlook must be chosen. God will give us the strength to walk in joy but first we have to deliberately decide that it is joy we want. 
Even as Christians, proclaiming the name of Christ and his goodness, love, grace and mercy, it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting our own way. We want our timing because we are so short sighted that we can picture a timing that is better. We want our plans because we aren't imaginative enough to believe that there is a more fulfilling plan out there. We are limited in scope and perspective, seeing with human eyes on a human level. But God is seeing the situation from a whole different level. He is above, seeing not only the present and past but the future. He knows far better then we do what is best because, unlike us, he knows exactly what is to come in not only our lives but the world that surrounds us. 
In the midst of a trial the situation never feels beneficial. It usually feels uncomfortable and downright lousy. We want our equilibrium and ease, so we strive to break out of the trial by whichever means is quickest and usually easiest. God doesn't always (and I might even say rarely) work that way. Instead of wanting to get us out of the difficulty ASAP, he wants to take whatever time is necessary to produce fruit in his children before he moves them on into a different set of circumstances. 
There is so much about a trial that we can't dictate. If we are allowing God to have his way, we won't tell him it is time to switch things up! If we are truly resting in God we won't be demanding that he change our lives around at our beck and call. We can only influence one thing and that is our attitude. 
In James we are instructed to claim joy in our trials. Will that be easy? James didn't claim it would be and if you have ever tried to be joyful in the midst of your darkest hour you know it is far from a walk in the park. But that doesn't mean it isn't attainable. 
God is loving and wants to give his children what they ask. So ask for joy. Ask for the rest and peace that comes through truly resting in God's promises and provision. Ask God to give you the strength to be joyful even when everything in life feels like it is in opposition to such an attitude. Claim the promises of God and take heart in them. Don't look simply at the mountain in front of you, look at the resurrection of Christ and the joy found in your salvation. 
When trials abound you get to make a decision. A) fight like mad to break out of your circumstances: run, hide, scream or cry. Or B) rest in God and praise him for who he is and the miraculous work he is doing in your life. 
There are no other options. If you are not for God and his will, then you are against him. The beautiful thing about God is that he gives you the opportunity to choose each day if you will circle A or B. Each morning anew you have the chance to wake up and choose joy.

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