‘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.’
James 1: 2-4
If you’ve ever struggled to find joy, you’re likely familiar with its void. The words in the above scripture, ‘pure joy’ initially grabbed my attention, but as I’ve continued to meditate on it, my heart has been drawn to the instruction, ‘CONSIDER it pure joy’.
We are to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds?
There in lies the rub. I mean, as a culture, we don’t really practice this. We typically want things to feel right, to have all our ducks in a row before we would even begin to consider ourselves happy. I was discussing this concept of ‘considering’ it joy with my family, when one of my kids indignantly protested, “But, Mom! That is not happy.”
Part of me wants to take the easy way out and agree. It sure doesn’t feel happy when things are falling apart.
I’ve practiced more than my share fair of grumpiness when things were just not right, and sometimes, even when they were right, but I was just in a ‘mood’. I’ve held on to fear in my trials, instead of trusting him and counting it joy. Sadly, I’ve become quite adept at nurturing these two emotions: fear and grumpiness. Until I started pondering this scripture, I don’t think I realized how often I complain.
Yet, this scripture continues to tease my heart, calling me to: ‘Consider (all these things) pure joy’ . The conviction of those words won’t leave me alone. Perhaps, we really can choose ‘pure joy’?
Slowly, this has become my mantra, “Consider it pure joy when… I’m running late (aka: really stressing)”… or “Consider it pure joy when I’m… ” (I can fill in the blank a million times a day. )
Although this verse has been almost continually running through my thoughts, I need so much practice in remembering to actually consider it joy BEFORE and DURING my trials. I don’t think it was intended for us to freak out during situations, and then, only in hindsight, remember ‘Oh, yeah, consider it joy.’
Although I am quite good at that initial freak out thing, I think this scripture was meant to instruct each of us to choose and to count it joy in the very midst of things falling apart, in the midst of our hard trials. This is a timeless truth we can still apply today.
I hope to make this considering joy thing a habit. I hope that God will change my heart and open my eyes to counting it joy, to rejoicing in the midst of my troubles, whatever they may be.
‘Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.’
I Corinthians 4:16-18
May He give us eyes to see that which is eternal!
May we count it all joy and may he renew us day by day!
‘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.’
= mature and complete, not lacking anything
….Mature and complete, not lacking anything. How sweet that sounds. I want that.
‘Consider it pure joy when (you fill in the blank) _______’
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,
because when he has stood the test,
he will receive the crown of life
that God has promised to those who love him.
~James 1: 12