consider it joy…
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. (James 1:2-3)
In have previously looked at this passage as more of an encouragement to get through hard times. In my current bible study, it is suggested to swap out the word “consider” with “feel” – meaning to feel pure joy in hardships, not just consider it.
Consider it pure joy means to me that I can go through a hardship knowing that I will be better for it on the other side. It is just a matter of getting through the hardship. This interpretation actually gives no advice for the moments of being within the trying times.
FEEL pure joy, completely changes things… it means that I have to change my attitude within the moment of trials. It changes the way I look at things, rather than having a mindset of just having to survive and get out on the other side.
I think that I have allowed myself to fall apart during trials… just get through it so that we can be better for it on the other side. To me, this means “checking out”, stepping away from my current goals and priorities in life, and focusing a lot on the pain, the worry, and the hardship… Not focusing my thoughts on the positives, the joy, and completely trusting God. If I am focusing on him, there definitely is joy to be had. It’s amazing how many places that joy and thankfulness can be found, even in hard times. Now, I suppose that this is strictly speaking for myself… personally, I have no idea how Job did it. But, I believe that this is where God only gives us what we can handle.
I have been allowing my trials to ‘steal’ from me… my security, my dreams, my ambition and drive, my joy etc. But James is saying that in Christ, these hardships can actually be giving. From Beth Moore in James – Mercy Triumphs, “Trials don’t get to steal from followers of Christ unless we hand over the goods.”
We should look to receive what is promised to us through trials – endurance. To me, this means keeping my eyes on Jesus no matter how hard these trials I’m going through are trying to knock me down. I have the potential, through Him to do it, it’s simply a matter of accessing His strength and not trying to do it, or get through it on my own.
In the past, I have depended too much on my own self, my own understanding, my own ability. This fails. I usually end up reaching a breaking point and take on the role of the victim – allowing myself to get tossed around by the circumstances, holding my breath till it’s over. I then look back, happy it’s over, and appreciative for the lessons that have come from it, but not necessarily for the way that I reacted or handled the situation.
Another scenario that I’ve found myself in is sticking my head in the sand… distracting myself from what is really going on and ignoring it till it slaps me in the face. Once again – using my own tactics to get through something as opposed to turning to Him.
Now, I realize that I must look to my Lord and seek out His strength, His will, and His promises. I can NOT do it on my own. But, with Him, I will truly receive from my trials.