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Thursday, February 23, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 2 ~ Joy and Trials

Day 2 ~ Joy and Trials

James 1:2-4 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.

Joy and trials. These are two words you don't typically put together. When I think of trials, I tend to think of long-suffering, frustration, endurance, and pain. But joy? joy is what I feel when I get what I want for Christmas. And you know what I didn't ask for? Trials of any kind.

But notice James does not tell us to feel joy in the midst of our trials, rather, he tells us to consider our trials pure joy. We are to get to know trials in a new way, as joy. How is this possible. James is telling us to look at our trials from a different perspective. We look at our trials from their end point or their goal: perfection in the presence of Christ forever. Our suffering now can be endured with perseverance because we know that our trials are leading to maturity. God is going to take this trial and perfect us through it!

As Christians, we should expect trials of any kind. The trials of life test our faith, and God uses such trials to strengthen our faith. Through his life, Jesus endured many trials. He was tempted by Satan in the desert, attacked for loving and forgiving sinners, conspired against for preaching the truth to the religious leaders, and ultimately he was crucified for our sins where he suffered the wrath of God. His faithful suffering and death lead to His resurrection and the salvation of the world. So, as we endure trials, we do so knowing that Christ is our example in that since we suffer trials with Him, we will rise with Him as well. And that is pure joy!

Repent: Dear Father, I confess that I have a hard time finding joy amidst my trials. Grant me the faith and the hope I need to see that you will use my trials to strengthen my faith. I thank you that Jesus suffered for me and promised me eternal joy and that these trials are preparing me for that! AMEN

Respond: Think of one person outside of the church who is struggling with a trial at this time. Find a way to give them some joy today. Say a prayer for them, buy them coffee, listen to them complain. Whatever you can do to bring some joy to them, do it!

Pastor Bob

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