“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” James 1:2
I have a difficult time swallowing this one. After I read this scripture with great enthusiasm, I than consider the circumstance I am currently experiencing and things don’t seem so joyful. The verse gets easily forgotten as I move toward a more palatable scripture, “Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.” Proverbs 3:29. No harm plotting here, unless you count the fact that I wait for my neighbor to take out her trash so that I can relive our bursting trash receptacle via her nearly empty trash can.
Joy is an interesting emotion. Although I would consider myself someone who has joy in their life most often, I know how easily my joy can be stolen. Ultimately my joy is fickle and often connected to my circumstances. However, as a Christ follower, my joy should never coincide with circumstances and should be ever present because God loves me, my sins are forgiven, and I am going to spend eternity in Heaven. That alone is a platform on which joy should stand continuously. I don’t always get that part right.
Our pastor told us about 5 ways that our joy gets zapped: undernourished spirit, unbalanced schedule, unused talent, unconfessed sin, and unresolved conflict. Any of these, at any moment can take away our joy. In addition, several of these happening at the same time are a blueprint for despair. When I avoid these my joy is more visible.
I trust in the truth that God knows the end from the beginning, and if I can focus on that, and the fact that he wants the very best for His children, the least I can do is find joy in midst of my situations.
Chances are, as I work toward trusting Christ more, being content, and avoiding the joy zappers when they attempt to set up camp in my life, the joy will follow.
The Bible tells me so.