James – Finding Joy in Your Troubles
Finding JOY in the Midst of Trials
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow,
for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ~ James 1:2-4 (NLT)
We are to find JOY in the midst of our troubles. Trouble can manifest itself in so many ways. But no matter what the troubles are, you are to still find JOY. Now to anyone this sounds crazy. When troubles come, I don’t feel joyous. I want to scream and hide in the tub. With God anything is possible, even finding JOY.
James points us to the reasoning of why we are to have JOY. God will test your faith. God will push to you realize that you need Him. And in so doing, you will find yourself on your knees in prayer. Asking God to help fix your troubles. When we stop trying to fight our problems in our own strength, then and only then will we find that our faith begins to grow.
Too long, I was an infant in God’s ways. I wanted God in my life, but I wanted to maintain control. It didn’t work out so well. I kept having to go through the same troubles, again and again and again, like being a merry-go-round continuously. It was exhausting and frustrating to say the least. Why did the same problems keep on happening to me? God wanted me to have more faith. To let Him be in control. Once I did this, my life changed so much.
Just as a runner trains for a marathon. Starting out, they have trouble running a couple of miles. There pace is slow and steady. Almost excrutiating. After a short time, those couple of miles are quite easy, yet they realize that they still have a long way to go, to be ready to run the 26.2 miles. Day after day, pushing themselves to get farther, faster. To be stronger physically and mentally. They push their lungs, heart, muscles and mind to the brink of exhuastion. All to run the whole 26.2 miles.
I want that to be me. I want to run the race and have endurance. I want to be found complete, perfect and lacking for nothing. Even when it hurts.
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of
life that God has promised to those who love Him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do
not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth
to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. ~ James 1:12-15
Reread the first sentence. God blesses those who are patiently enduring their testing. Finding joy in all of it. To endure means to undergo especially without giving in. To regard with acceptance or tolerance. In Latin it is the word, indurare, meaning to harden. God is asking us to patiently endure with JOY.
Sometimes when I read these words, I want to laugh. They seem so impossible. But then I think about Sarah in the book of Genesis 18:1-15, where she laughed at God’s promise to her. Yet God still kept His promise, even though to the human mind it seemed impossible. God would not ask us to do something if it couldn’t be done. We can have patient endurance, no matter the trial.
James goes on to talk about temptation. This is a strong urge or desire to have or do something. Our flesh can scream at us, with pure selfishness, throwing a fit till it gets what it wants. Right now, I am on a very strict diet. I wanted to throw things today, as my body craved sugar. Oh how I just wanted a coffee from starbucks with whipped cream. A nice warm muffin with butter. Ice cream with hot fudge and sprinkles. I found myself praying that God would help to remove these temptations. I found some berries instead, and was relieved when they met my sugar craving.
How often do we blame our sinful ways, on God, saying that He must have brought this temptation into my life. He must be trying to teach me a lesson. Go back and reread the verses above. God is never tempted to do wrong. He never tempts. Temptation comes from our own desires. To want or wish for something that is attractive or appealing, especially if it is something that interests us. Let me say it again. Temptation comes from our own desires.
This all goes back to our sinful nature. We want what we want, when we want it and sometimes we will do anything to get it. Allowing this sin to drag us away.
James ends this section with the idea of giving birth to your sinful actions. It illustrates giving birth to a still born child. That is how deadly our selfish desires can be. They start as something small, a little white lie, a small flirtation with another man, hitting your child in an abusive manner, verbally mocking your husband behind his back, being lazy at homeschooling, etc.
These small sins start as a child that is conceived within you. It is literally the size of a peanut. As the sin grows, so does the baby. It starts to make your stomach get bigger. You may have more headaches, nausea, vomiting. You go a little farther in your sin. It’s okay, you are still in control of this sin you tell yourself. As it continues to grow within you, taking over more of your body. Till finally you are so engourged with this sin that you do not know how to reverse its’ effect anymore. You give in. Then the pain from your sin comes. It wraps around your whole body. Making your heart feel like it is going to explode. It is more than you can take. Till you give birth to a still born. A child of death. You have walked away from your faith and the amazing life that God had planned for you. You have lost your life.
I am really sorry if that was graphic, but God wants you to understand how serious a small sin can be in your life.
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who
patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. they eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.
You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. ~ James 5:7-8
Here we go again with the idea of being patient. Just in these two verses alone, James puts the word patient in there three times. How important our patience must be in our journey in life.
I suck at patience. I was raised that we got things done, now. I have brought this lack of patience into my homeschooling life and relationships with those that I love. Exploding and causing more problems then what I originally had.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with
each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. ~ Romans 15:5
Hallelujah!! I do not have to rely on my own power to find patience. God can and will give me it. All I have to do is truly have faith. Believe in what He is telling me in his Word. What a relief.
As you go through trials remind yourself that we are to have JOY, patience and endurance. You do not have to do this in your own strenght. You can’t do this in your own strength and still find patience and JOY. You do not have to. Fall on your knees and tell God that you need Him. Ask Him to give you JOY, patience and endurance in the midst of your trials.
Write out a prayer of asking God for these virtues, so that you may fight the good fight. I want you to tape this prayer up where you will see it. Fervently pray this prayer everday, with a heartfelt belief that He will deliver. Watch as God changes your mannerisms for the day.
Finally, I want you to write James 1:2 on a piece of paper or index card. Tape it up next to your prayer. This is a reminder of God’s commintment to meet you where you are at. That He will give you the JOY, patience, and endurance needed to get through your problems.
May God bless you and keep you as you continue your journey through the storm.