Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pure Joy

I had my James bible study last night. It was, as always, wonderful. James is an awesome book and very hard hitting. One thing that struck me was that so much of it is a matter of perspective. As I sat in my small group, discussing trials of many kind and how we are to consider them pure joy, one of the women I'm with blew me away with her enthusiasm. "Bring it on!" was her mantra. If suffering and trials produce endurance and makes us closer to Him, mature and lacking in nothing, then bring it!

Can you imagine living life desiring struggles? I have a hard time just accepting them. Of course, my friend still struggles and doesn't LOVE trials and suffering but she's one of those people that has much to look back on and KNOWS with such certainty that God has come through for her before and most certainly will again and again. I love it. I love being around others with that perspective. My other tablemate also reiterated those sentiments; saying that us in America don't even KNOW what trials are.

Wow. Ouch. Another interesting perspective.

And then there's me, in agony over the mundane choices in life.

It was a wonderful reminder that joy doesn't come from outside sources; joy is not something that is lost when a bad thing happens; joy is a choice. Joy is a response that comes from maturity. Joy is overflow of a right perspective of God and what He has done. So, yes; trials may come but we are joyful in our Lord; what He has done and what He continues to do.

"Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles 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

Are you joyful? Is your joy stable? Or is it tossed to and fro by the waves? Are you Joyful only in some circumstances or are you Joyful in the God who created you and loves you?

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