Count It All Joy

Monday, February 28, 2011

We don’t have to look far to see people who are struggling in their personal lives. In recent days I’ve learned of the death of a nineteen-year-old girl who died from a virus that overtook her body in a matter of days. I read with heartache about two teenagers who died in a car accident near my house. My dear friend Susan is dealing with constant headaches and a burning sensation all over her body. Another friend has been diagnosed with cancer that has attacked multiple organs. It seems my prayer list is filled with people who are suffering. When I look over this list, I begin to put my own struggles in perspective.

I realize that life in this world is filled with pain and suffering. The Early Christians dealt with pain too. In fact, they lived in constant fear of persecution for their beliefs. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote to the persecuted Christians about their pain and suffering. He reminded those faithful followers that it is through “pain and trouble” in life that we have an opportunity to grow our faith. He calls on us to count it joy when we go through trials.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, when trouble comes your way consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

Let’s apply these four P principles to our own pain and trouble.

1. Positive outlook
First, James says to spend our time considering our joy. It’s hard to imagine being joyful during hard times but perhaps James is urging us to have a positive outlook. Can we live in God’s positivity during hard times? Can we realize that God is in control and that gives us reason to be positive?

2. Perseverance
Then he says to endure or persevere through the hard times because that’s how we grow in our faith. Perseverance teaches us to be patient and steadfast.

3. Perceive
Next he tells us to think about what we can learn or perceive from our troubles. We learn to think and speak and act differently when we allow God to help us grow through our challenges.

4. Perfection
Finally, he says we will be complete and mature in our faith when we persevere with joy. He uses the word perfect to imply that when our endurance is fully developed we will have perfect faith in Christ.

Now let’s apply these P principles to James 1:2-4.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for a positive outlook. For you know that when your faith is tested, your perseverance has a chance to perceive things better. So let it grow, for when your perseverance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4
What can you find joy in today?


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