Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- April 14, 2012
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3
Pure joy is the position and privilege of the person who follows Jesus Christ. Ironically, Jesus-generated joy is discovered and developed in the face of trials. Trials are designed to bring out God’s best and, consequently, your best as well. You’re going through your current trial by fire so that your faith can become more sincere and real during adversity’s affliction. This is your time to experience God’s faithfulness, for His joy and contentment are calming. The presence of Christ gives you reassurance and peace. He is the joy-giver, while Satan is the joy-killer.
Therefore, you can smile, because your smile, while enduring a trial, is the result of pure joy. It’s pure joy because God can be trusted. It’s pure joy because your faith is real and robust and Christ is faithful. It’s pure joy because you will persevere by faith. Indeed, untested faith is a naïve faith. Until your faith has been refined through various trials, it will remain immature and judgmental. You can understand others’ perspectives and respect them more when you have been broken over your own inadequacies and sins. Trials slow you down enough to allow you to look into the mirror and ask what needs to change. How can you lead and serve your family and friends during this time of unprecedented turmoil and tentativeness? Pure joy comes as a result of your faith changing and growing.
God is your agent of change. The work of God in and through your life produces pure joy. Change can be painful, but God administers pure joy at the point of your pain. It is the result of the Holy Spirit’s fullness: “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52). Therefore, learn how to accept the pure joy of the Lord. It is available for you to receive. Do not see your present predicament as a setback. Instead, see your current condition as an opportunity—an opportunity to engage more deeply and more fully with your heavenly Father. Sometimes, it takes trials and tests to slow you down enough to look into the joyful face of Jesus. He is the personification of pure joy.
Jesus understood pure joy because He was focused on following the will of His Father (John 17:4). His heart was full of joy because He knew He was about His Father’s business. Yes, His heart broke at times but He suffered out of joyful obedience (Hebrews 12:2). In the middle of His most adverse circumstance, Jesus still cried out to His heavenly Father. His intimacy with the Father was strengthened during difficulty. No person or circumstance, not even the devil, kept Him from pure joy.
Invite the pure joy of God to reign over your anxious heart as well. You can smile and place your refined faith in Him. He is building your faith capacity for the long run. The Bible says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Pure joy does not depend on good circumstances; it thrives during trials and tribulations. Unleash the pure joy that already lives within, for He is faithful. Above all, promote pure joy and persevere in its promise.
Taken from April 20th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE
Post/Tweet this today: Untested faith is naïve faith. #mature #faith
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