Monday, June 8, 2009

All Joy

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. ~~ James 1:2-8 NIV

Several words stand out to me in the above passage: joy, trials, testing, perseverance, mature, wisdom, believe and receive.

What does James mean that we can count it a joy when we face trials and testing? Going through trials and tribulations hurt. I confess I tend to lean on the worrier and anxious side of life. All the “what ifs” start piling up on me like a heavy backpack that I keep stuffing with more “what ifs.” Then, before I know it, the burden is too heavy. I fall. I start unloading “what ifs” at the cross, but I still hold onto some and get up again.

Then this morning the thought came to me, What if everything I’m worried about, the Lord has allowed to come to me? What if the Lord is using these situations to grow me? What if I sing praise to HIM allowing Him to work out the worries and direct my steps?

Here are my thoughts as I meditated on those words this morning:

First, count it a joy. I can be joyful because I’m growing in Christ.

Second, trials and testing keeps my seeking my God through my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Third, perseverance comes. I must keep on keeping on. The love of the Lord drives me to not quit.

Fourth, I’m maturing in Christ as I keep my eyes on HIM. I’m growing up in our Lord as I never give up on what He’s called me to do—to be a wife, mother, and teacher.

Fifth, God gives wisdom. When facing tests and trials, we need wisdom in how to respond. God gives us that wisdom.

Sixth, Believe God. God is faithful and I can trust HIM to do what His word says He will do.

Seventh, receive from God. He promises rewards to those who persevere. I will hold onto HIM to receive what He has for me. What He gives is eternal.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. ~~ James 1:12 NIV

After meditating on those seven words from scripture, I’m ready to unpack my backpack at the cross. I’m lifting my hands up high toward the heavens and shouting praises to my Lord and King. I know I will persevere, mature and receive wisdom as I believe in my Lord. I will count it all joy!

Engrafted by His Grace--

4 gracious comments:

Leah said...

Shonda, friend,

YOu will never know how much that spoke to me today. I, too, am a worrier and am prone to anxiety. Just last night I stayed away for an hour in the middle of the night pondering and yes, worrying about my mom. Thankfully, I am learning that when I am awake like that, I need to pray. If I do, soon I will feel peace and go back to sleep.

It has taken me years to learn to go running to the Lord with my worries and still, sometimes I fail to do that, but at least I am doing it more and more.

Thanks for a wonderful post.


Micca said...

Hi Shonda.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed yours! What a talented writer you are!

Loved today's post. I, too, want to be made perfect, complete, and lacking in nothing...but I don't want to go through hardships to get there. However, these are the ways of God. As you said, it's how He grows us up!
thanks and blessings!

Anonymous said...

I can still get caught up in the "what ifs" and the "unknowns" in life too. As I run up on situations that I find myself tempted to begin the "what ifs", I just have to try to get my mindset back to remember what God tells us in His Word: DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW. God will take care of what we truly need. I've recently had to be reminded of those very truths because I've caught myself wandering into the "what ifs" in my mind in a couple of different situations. It's not easy to get your thoughts taken captive to the obedience of Christ. But praise the Lord, through His power, we can do it.

Aren't we so blessed to be able to go straight to our Father in Heaven and just throw it all out on the table, pour out all the concerns, and just talk to Him about it? Then, we can leave it there with Him. We are truly blessed.

Take care,

Warren Baldwin said...

I'm sure you've seen the little acrostic built on the word "Joy":

Jesus First
Others Second
Yourself Last

It doesn't fit the theme of your discussion exactly, but I think it is helpful to envision how joy works itself out in our lives.

Good post.