Pure joy…

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” –James 1:2 (NIV)

We are going to face trials in this life. They are guaranteed. What should be our attitude? James tells us we should be joyful! Consider means to fix your mind upon, pay attention to, or have regard to. This is describing an attitude and not a feeling. When we go through trials, the last thing we want to think about is our attitude. We want to get through it as quickly and as painlessly as possible. But James says no, we should examine our attitude. Joy dispels gloom and causes cheer. Pure joy is deeper than that! And that should be our attitude and our experience.

What type of trials? These are trials external to us [We will talk about internal struggles later]. Trials such as cancer, ill health, bankruptcy, competition at school, deadlines at the office, disappointed friends, sorrow, family discord, unmet expectations, and the list can go on and on. We call these the “storms of life.” We must realize there is a purpose in these trials. We may not ever know the purpose, but there is one.

Listen to this, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Did you catch that? Jesus went to the cross with an attitude of JOY! How is that possible?

What trials are you going through? How’s your attitude?

Do you look for the joy in the midst of trials? Why or why not?

Every day, God finds another way to ask you, “Do you trust me?” How are you answering that?

Is there someone you are close to who is experiencing a trial? How can you help them see joy?

Servant of…

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.”-James 1:1 (NIV)

The word for servant means slaves or bondservants-servants were legally owned by someone else and their entire livelihood and purpose was determined by their master. They owed absolute obedience, total surrender, and complete loyalty to their master. For James, his master was God. Jesus said “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24). Everybody is a slave to someone or something. What about you?

 

What controls you?

What (or whom) do you obey?

Do you obsess over material possessions?

Does your money control you or do you control your money?

How much of your time is controlled by technology?

To what or to whom have you surrendered?

If you surrendered completely to God, how would your life change?