Pure joy! The Lord used a single word to show me an incredible lesson! I don't know how many times I have read James 1:2, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds but it's been many, many times! The problem is that though I read the words exactly as they are shown above, my mind translated it into a faulty, inaccurate version that read something like this... whenever I face trials of many kinds, if I just look hard enough, there's got to be a little bit of joy to be found somewhere. Do you see the error? As I was reading that verse this week the word "pure" jumped off the page at me! Pure. As in 100%. Like the 100% pure cinnamon container sitting in my pantry. Whoa!
With Jesus, it is not only possible but we are supposed to consider (count it up, account for) it as pure joy whenever (at all times) we face trials of many kinds. Not a little bit of joy mixed up with a whole lot of unexpected yuck but PURE JOY! Friends, if we want to do more than survive and thrive when those unexpected, unwelcome experiences of life come our way, we need to change our way of thinking about them. I don't profess to have this all figured out but I know it's going to involve me placing unlimited trust in my Trustworthy God!
He wants me to be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience and let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that [I] may be perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing (James 1:3-4 AMP). He calls me to trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5 NIV) and exercise a sincere and unqualified faith (the leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) (2 Timothy 1:5 AMP). When He says that in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28a NIV) He does, in fact, mean "all" things!
Dear Father, this is a jam-packed lesson in that one little word and I am so far from comprehending how to live this lesson out! Please help me to recognize what I am thinking when life's trials cross my path. Help me to throw off the sentiments of pride that say "I don't deserve..." or "it's not fair..." and remind myself instead that You have a good plan for me and that even in "this" situation, You are working "all" things together for my good. Help me to lean my entire personality upon You - emotions and all - and trust that You have the power to do what needs to be done and the wisdom to know what that is! In Jesus' Name, amen!