Consider It Pure Joy

Are you facing some sort of a trial in your life right now?  We all do at different times.  It’s part of life.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is James 1:2-4.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I memorized these verses years ago, because I knew that when I needed them, I wanted them in my mind.  It’s carried me through some pretty tough situations.

The part that has always gotten me were the words, “Consider it pure joy.”  It’s never felt like joy when I was going through the trials of my life.  Far from it!  In my experience, pain, sadness, sorrow, and unhappiness would seem to be more descriptive words.  But James calls it joy. 

When you look at the rest of the passage, you read that God wants you to “become mature and complete not lacking anything.”  Instead of complaining about your hardships and struggles, look at them as opportunities for growth.

There’s an analogy that I love about steel.  There’s “regular steel” and then there’s “tempered steel.”  Tempered steel has been manufactured using a higher heat than regular steel goes through.  But it’s stronger because of the heat.  It can handle more weight than regular steel.

The steel never says, “No!!!  Take it away…”  It just quietly goes through the process and becomes what it was meant to be.

I have a very dear friend who has gone through many trials over the last five years or so.  One day we were talking, and I said to him, “You know, it’s nothing more than training.”  He wrote that down on a 3×5 card, and it’s been with him now for years.  Instead of a hardship, it’s training.  This enables him to go through the trials with a more positive perspective.  And more importantly, he’s become a very strong man.

As you go through the trials of your life, ask God to help you.  Ask him to help you to learn and grow from these tests.  Ask him for strength to endure.  Ask him for the right outlook.  And watch what happens.

So, whenever I go through a trial, I think about these verses and I say, “Lord, bring it on!  You know what I can bear.  Don’t crush me, but give me enough to make me stronger.”

How about you?  Where can you apply this passage to your life?  How can you use this to become “mature and complete,” like tempered steel?

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