James 1:2-14 TPT “My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things…”
Wow, what a passage of scripture! To be honest this passage holds little weight and can pass off as one of those ‘ahh it’s good’ but you don’t really get how challenging it is unless you understand the context in which it was written.
Let’s go on this journey together…
The scripture is taken from a letter written by James to people of Jewish upbringing who had recently converted to Christianity and were experiencing severe persecution, grief from the loss of their loved ones, and all other kinds of atrocities at the hands of those they had trusted. According to commentaries on this letter “there were abundant circumstances to cause them confusion, fear, loneliness, anger, sorrow, poverty, hardship…” Does this sound familiar? Though suffering all of these hardships/trials, James encourages these people and seeks to strengthen them for faithful Christian living.
Right this moment, I find myself not just encouraged and strengthened by these words but challenged. Why?
Perspective: It challenges my perspective about hardships and ultimately gives the key to a ‘secret’ weapon which the enemy seeks to destroy all the time – joy! What makes this even better is that James was Jesus’s biological brother and a Christian so he himself was hunted down, therefore he doesn’t write from a place of piety but from a place of experience saying “hey..this is possible”.
Joy: It strengthens me in knowing that I am not fighting the battle on my own. Joy is the fruit of the Spirit, meaning where there is joy the Holy Spirit is there, and when we ‘see’ this opportunity that means that we are acknowledging the presence of the Holy Spirit, leaning on Him, and eating off of His fruit.
Perseverance: Perseverance is defined as the ability to persist in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Because I know that I have the Holy Spirit on my side, that trials ignite the power (the same power that raised Christ from the dead) within me, I feel encouraged and empowered to dance upon my disappointments, set-backs, and pain not because I see a breakthrough, but because I know the breakthrough Bringer, I know the very One who raised Jesus from the dead. In my pain, disappointment, and suffering I stay steadfast, I fight in grace, love, wisdom, and long-suffering.
In the words of in the famous Winston Churchill; “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”
So if you are feeling a wee bit discouraged today or feeling like society is going backward or you feel hurt, anger, and pain – remember that your perspective will either liberate you or enslave you.
You are not alone – you have access to the Holy Spirit who gives you joy. You are strong enough and have it within you to get back up again, dust yourself off put your ‘oomph’ cap on, and run the race harder than before!
(P.S it makes the devil and his goons real mad). Remember that joy is a promise.
All my love, Sips