Friday, September 7, 2012

Consider it JOY

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, 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 1:1-4


Talk about a week of trials. This last week has been one of the more difficult weeks I have experienced. So many battles to fight. Tough decisions to make. Heart-breaking conversations. At the end of this week, as I reflect on all that happened, my heart is at a strange place. It is heavy because of the pain and of the long road it knows is ahead. But at the same time it is joyous. Because when I look back at this last round of warfare, I realize how much time I spent calling upon the name of the Lord.

 Nothing induces an amazing prayer life like difficulty does.

 Sometimes it is hard to keep a joyful mentality when it comes to the difficulties we face in life. But we just need to change our perspective. Trials aren’t an indication of failure. Trials are the training ground for our spiritual well being.

 Imagine you are prepping for a triathlon, or something equally intense. You know what is expected of you. You know the level of difficulty is far beyond anything you have experienced.
How do you train?
Do you sit at home and eat bon-bons and watch movies about training?
Do you watch other people train and hope to be as good as them one day?
Do you pamper and baby your body?
No. You literally get up everyday and beat your body into submission.
You push yourself. You go beyond your limits. You allow yourself to feel pain. Because if muscle isn’t tearing, then it isn’t rebuilding stronger than before.
If you want to run well, then you have to train well.

Why? Because training puts your body to the test. It produces perseverance. And when perseverance finishes its work, training will have made your body perfect and complete.

Sound familiar?

We live in a fallen world. It’s not a matter of if there will be trials; it’s a matter of when. Thankfully the Lord is gracious enough to give our trials meaning and to allow us to be strengthened by them.  That is why James says “Consider it pure joy.”

Be joyful - because the alternative is to be upset; and we all know that doesn’t help anything.
Be joyful - because your faith is being put to the test.
Be joyful - because you are being made ready for battle
Be joyful - because when perseverance has finished its work, you will be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Be joyful because adversity usually, not always, but usually means you are doing something right for the Kingdom. The devil doesn’t sabotage himself or those doing his bidding. If you are feeling particularly attacked, look at your life.

If God is working through you, the devil will try to work against you.
Just take joy in the fact that God has chosen to use you!

The greatest people I know face the biggest trials.
But what the devil uses to distract them, God uses to strengthen them.

 So here we are at another choice.
Do we crumble at the sign of trials or do we choose to see them for what they are and rise above?

Christ get’s the victory when you do!