Tuesday, April 10, 2018
“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 1:2-4
This passage used to seem more like a fairy tale than verses in the Bible to me. Who on earth can consider the multiple trials in which we have all experienced ‘pure joy’? Before we roll our eyes and skip over this passage let me share with you the most complete definition I have ever read defining joy. Years ago, I read Kay Warren’s book called Choosing Joy, Because Happiness isn’t Enough. Her definition of joy is ‘the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.’ And that is the core of joy – choosing it despite our circumstances.
Joy is the overflow of spiritual maturity and completion once we really embrace God's track record. Joy is cumulative and progressive as God proves Himself faithful in all seasons. Joy runs the race to the very end, while happiness constantly searches for another path. We are certainly going to face trials until we step into Heaven so why wouldn’t we choose joy understanding that our trials are not empty. Why wouldn’t we step into maturity and move towards completion in God? What does it look like when are living a life lacking nothing? It looks like the woman who despite her broken relationship fully understands that God is still in control of every detail. It is the man who has God’s assurance that provision will be there to carry him through the lean times. It is the parent that continues to praise God even while awaiting the prodigal to return…a settled assurance… a quiet confidence…a determined choice to praise God through it all.
Seasons come, and seasons go, and they are strung together with both beautiful days and heart wrenching moments. Most times we cannot control the hardships that crash into our lives, but we can walk through them with joy…pure joy as the author described. God promises that we will have everything we need to face any trial. In Him we will lack nothing, so with that truth we can take comfort and choose joy!