Consider Joy

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,” (NASB, James 1:2)

How’s your Joy lately? Given James’s encouragement right off the bat in his letter, we should be drowning in Joy these days. And yet despair, anger, frustration, and fear are the expressions we see. Even Christians who have read the book of James are among those despairing. I don’t claim to be immune to this. Ask my family, and they will tell you that I probably wrote this to myself, and they’d be right.

The list of causes for these emotions and reactions seems to make them justifiable, yet the encouragement from Scripture is to consider any trial we go through in light of God’s purpose and providence. This verse should make us pause and shift our focus to our God. God’s purpose is beyond and immeasurably more important than the “troubles” we face. The continued lesson seems to be that sometimes the “troubles” are used by God to point us back to Him and back to His purpose. This doesn’t make trouble disappear, but it does help us to see it in a different light.

I love the way the NLT translates this verse. “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (NLT, James 1:2) James’s perspective is that troubles, trials, whatever you want to call them, are an opportunity for great Joy! Man, what an awesome perspective! An Opportunity for GREAT JOY!

Speaking with His disciples before His death, Jesus told them, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (NASB, John 15:11) Christ desires that His Joy would be in us, and because of His Joy we would have Joy. He also said to His disciples, “So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.” (NLT, John 16:22) What Jesus told his disciples is consistent with the message James wrote. Joy is the desire of God in our lives, before, during, and after the troubles that life brings.

Did you notice in these verses the hinge point of Joy? Trust in God. Believe in God and what He is doing. A Refocus on the Eternal. Considering the purpose of troubles as an opportunity for Joy. Remembering that God doesn’t waste anything in our lives, but He uses everything for His Glory.

I’m not saying it’s easy; I’m saying it’s Joy. Consider Joy. Remember Joy. Believe in your Loving Savior and His purpose and plan in the midst of trouble. Focus on Joy. Allow Joy to be the by-product and the attribute that brings life back to your faith in our good God.

Reminding us to consider the opportunities for Joy,

Pastor Mike Towler

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