Now, how recently has it been since you complained about a problem you were encountering? Since God clearly promises pure joy to His children; why are so many Christians unhappy, disgruntled, and some downright ugly? What would need to change in YOUR life for you to be able to say, “My life is full of pure joy?” God’s path to pure joy is spelled out in James 1:2-4. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I memorized these verses over 25 years ago, but as I looked at these verses recently I saw a new insight. The path to pure joy is not having problems; the path to God’s pure joy is when you face your problems. Many people live with the false belief that if they had less problems, or if they had no problems—that is the path to pure joy. But this clearly contradicts the simple truth of God’s word.
What are some typical responses to problems?
a. We ignore them
b. We deny them
c. We run from them
d. We rationalize them
e. We blame them on someone else
f. We pray and ask God to take the problems away.
Do any of these fit you? Guess what? Our obsession with getting rid of the problem may cause us to miss what God wants us to learn. We blame it on the devil, failing to see God’s hand in it, not seizing this as an opportunity to draw closer to God and experience His pure joy. Hold up! Before you write me off and say, “Dorothy, you obviously don’t know about the problems I’m facing,” look with me at what James says about how to experience God’s pure joy. James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” Every test, temptation, or trial is an opportunity to use God’s faith……..HIS MIGHTY POWER! When I put God’s power to the test, has HE ever failed me? NEVER!
One reason I can have joy when I face my problems is that His power will see me through. If we are honest, many of us are afraid to face our problems. We reason, “My problems cause me pain. Facing my problems will only increase the pain, so the best solution is to run from my problems.” That was the logic that I lived by for years. Truthfully, once I began facing my problems, I did encounter pain. But then I experienced God’s help and healing!!! Let’s be clear, James 1:2 tells us what we are to do, “consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.” But it does not give a detailed strategy on how to experience this pure joy. We need to look beyond this verse in James for that help. James 1:3 gives a key part of the “how to” answer. Facing these problems is really a testing of my faith. These problems provide me the opportunity to learn how to use God’s faith—His power—in facing these problems. God’s power is real and more than adequate. Our role is to prove to ourselves that we can effectively handle God’s power in the context of the problem.
The apostle Paul talks of another kind of trial he faced as a missionary. In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul pleads with God for deliverance. God answers Paul in verse 9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” The revelation from God to Paul contains an awesome promise, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” God’s great power is available to help us deal “perfectly” with whatever test comes our way………especially when we are weak! So how does Paul respond to God’s answer when pleading for God to take away this problem? Paul says, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul’s response shows that he chose to be happy even when the trial remained in his life. Paul’s joy is not based on problems; his focus is to delight on how God’s power can work in his life. Praise God!
Let’s pray: “Heavenly Father, give me a desire to please You. Fill my mind with thoughts of Your Love, so that I may grow in Your Wisdom, in Jesus’ Name Amen!”
One Simple Nugget: “Adversity introduces a man to himself!” H.L. Mencken