Count It All Joy

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2‭-‬4 ESV

The trials of this life are nothing compared to the incomparable glory that will be revealed when we see our Savior and Lord face to face when at long last we arrive in our heavenly abode. Hold on to that truth. It will help get you through the hard times.

Difficult times must come. Without them, how can our faith be tested? It’s no test of faith to live in ease and comfort. Humans are like most other animals, we seek comfort and ease, even to our own detriment. I’m looking at you, American obesity epidemic. How many other nations are eating themselves to an early grave? Clearly prosperity for prosperity’s sake is not a virtue.

Thankfully, our God is a loving Father. He lets us make our own mistakes. Hopefully, we learn from them. When we don’t, He ups the ante repeatedly until we learn the lesson. This is all for our benefit. The sooner we learn to live in obedience to Christ, the better off we are. It took me the better part of 49 years to figure it out, but better late than never, right?

Who wants to be perfect and mature in the Lord? Who wants to manifest a Christlike nature? Perfect character and spiritual maturity are the end goals of our walk with the Lord. You see where this is going right?

We don’t know how good our character is until it is put to the test. God already knows what we are. He knows where we need to continue growing and developing. The testing comes to prove to ourselves who we are. The proud get humbled. The humble find rest for their souls.

Everything that we are is part of God’s great design. We are His masterpieces. We are the work of His hands. Don’t resist the hands of your Creator as He molds you and makes you into His image and likeness. Persecutions and trials and tribulations are all part of the process. These hard times chip away at our imperfections. They smooth out the rough edges. It’s God’s way of conforming us to Christ.

You have to be steadfast. You need to have endurance to not jump out of the fire. The baptism of fire is what comes to burn away all the things in our lives and our walks that are not of God. Rejoice when the fire comes, it’s a sign that God loves you. It’s a sign that His grace and favor rest upon you. He would not perfect someone that He intends to throw away into destruction.

Know this: the fires will come. Know this: you will not be burned in the fire. Remain steadfast. Let your faith in the goodness of God be immovable. No matter what happens, no matter what circumstances may come into our lives, God loves us and He is allowing these things to happen to bring us to full maturity in Him. If He sent His beloved Son to die a sinner’s death by crucifixion on a cross, can we expect anything less? Are we better than our Savior?

Pick up your cross and die daily.

And discover what it truly means to live.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen.

Father, give us steadfastness and endurance to finish the race well. May our faith in You never fail. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see what You are doing. Give us wisdom to understand. Right size our expectations and our attitudes to conform to Your will and Your desire for our lives. May joy inexplicable be the evidence that Your Spirit is ever-present and at work in us. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 ESV

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