Before we continue in our study of James, I would like to share a couple things.
Our daughter's basketball team is currently playing in the Twin County Tournament and they have won themselves into the championship game which is tonight. We are so excited to cheer on this group of talented girls that my husband has coached for the last few years, but had to let them go to the school coach this year. :( Their new coach is a wonderful and talented man, so we are sure that they will continue to do well, but after all this time it seems like they are part of our family. Anyway, please be praying for their safety and protection as they play their big game.
Also, Mike's grandma will be having hip replacement surgery today and we would really appreciate your prayers for the surgery and then the healing afterward. She is a very self-sufficient woman and just hates having others take care of her. She is very generous and wants to take care of everyone else. So, this will be a big adjustment for her, for awhile.
On to James 1:2-4
Just like I didn't get very far yesterday in our study, today is no different - there is just so much good stuff that we need to talk about before moving on!!!
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
O.K. people - check this out - consider it joy when you are in the midst of trials. Is this possible??
Absolutely! See, there is a difference between having joy and being happy. Happiness is based only on our circumstances. We are happy when things are going well for us. But having joy is based on what God has done for us. Joy doesn't change with our circumstances. Joy is in our heart because we are children of God. We have joy because Jesus died on the cross so that we could have eternal life through Him. We have joy because God loves us even when we don't deserve to be loved. We have joy because He will never leave us or forsake us.
Now, James is not suggesting that you pretend that you are happy during struggles but that even through these difficult times, our heart needs to continue to stay focused on the assurance we have in our Lord. Faith shouldn't fade away in the midst of turmoil. God is always the same, He hasn't changed, just your circumstances have.
I had someone say to me that they couldn't trust God any longer because He allowed them to be hurt by someone they love. God doesn't promise that we will not endure very difficult things. He does promise though, to draw near to us, to comfort us, to love us, to never leave us. He is hurt every day by those that He loves - US! He was hurt to watch His own son suffer through life on this earth and then His cruel death.
Going through these struggles with our eyes still focused on God, causes positive things to happen. It causes endurance. It causes stronger faith and trust. It makes us grow and change for the better. It makes us rely on the One who is trustworthy.
Consider it joy as you look for the positives in your current and past struggles.
Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ