Consider it joy when your faith is tested.
Count it all joy? Are you serious?
Have you ever felt as though your stresses and trials are miserable and unbearable? Then, you read James 1:2, and it says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” Your next thought is, “You have go to be kidding. There is definitely no joy in what I am going through.”
This week we are going to focus on how we can be joyful in the midst of the trials and stress. Each day, we will dig a bit deeper into the scripture and our personal thoughts and figure out the meaning of our trials and the ways to count them as joy. I encourage you to get a journal and begin to journal your thoughts and what you gain from the scripture each day as you are processing and unfolding the deeper meaning of the trials.
Sunday: Read James 1:2-4 and begin praying for God to reveal to you the precise struggles you are facing at the moment. Record those struggles and trials in your journal. It may be something as simple as being overwhelmed with your daily routines. Write down specifically what is stressing you.
Monday: Focus on James 1:2 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds," Pray and ask God to give you the ability to have joy and peace in your heart in spite of the struggles and even the emotions you are experiencing. In your journal make a list of the things in your life for which you have to be joyful. You might start with your salvation and move to your family one by one. Keep listing everything you have in your life that brings you joy. Give God praise right now for each one on your list.
Tuesday: Focus on James 1:3 “…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” Today think about the testing of your faith you experienced in the past. In your journal list one or two that seemed to bring much stress and even grief. Now, for each one listed, write down how you grew stronger in your faith and your relationship with Christ as a result of the experience. Use the following questions as a guide for writing in your journal: What did you learn from the experience? How did you change as a result of the experience?
Wednesday: Focus on James 1:4 “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Today, pray that God will give you the ability to withstand the trials and the stresses so that you can be transformed into the person He desires you to be. Remember, that in order for God to perfect His will within each of us, He sometimes has to weed out the garden within us. There may be attitudes, weaknesses, actions, or something else that He reveals to you in your prayer time today. Ask God to make it clear to you exactly what He needs to remove, add, or change within you in order to make you more of what He has planned for you to become. Write in journal today the areas He has revealed to you. This is something that may take all day to process and understand. Have your journal handy all day so you can jot down what He reveals. Do not take this day’s focus lightly. Spend time with God begging Him to show you what you need to change. Keep in mind; this may, in itself, be a major struggle. Write that in your journal as well. It is very hard to face our weaknesses and have the courage and desire to make changes within our hearts and lives.
Thursday: Go back over your journal from Wednesday. Focus on the thing or things that God revealed to you that needs to be dealt with and changed. Read over James 1:4 again. “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” In your journal, pour out your feelings and emotions about making that particular change. Spend time in prayer with God completely submitting that part of your heart and life to His will. Ask Him to give you the ability to allow Him to have control of that area. If you ask Him for the ability to relinquish your control and let Him have control, He will completely supply you with the ability to do so. Remember, God cannot perfect you and move you closer to your full potential until He has changed, added, and/or removed attitudes, weaknesses, actions, etc., God created you for a special purpose. You will not fully understand that purpose until you begin letting go of yourself and your control over your life, actions, and even words and giving it all to Him and allowing Him to control all areas of your life. Write a statement in your journal of your willingness to submit your whole being including your attitudes and thoughts to the Lord.
Friday: Reflect again on James 1:3, “…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” In your journal write the meaning of the word steadfastness: “sure, dependable, reliable, constant, unwavering” (). Now, in your journal put that in your own words. Use the following questions to interpret the meaning in your own situation: Of those synonyms listed, which one stands out with meaning to you in your situation? Why does that word stand out to you? What does it mean based on what you are facing? How can your becoming stronger in that manner help you to be more of what God desires you to become? Pray and ask God to give you the strength to become more steadfast using the synonym that fits your situation.
Saturday: Today read James 1:2-4 and give God praise for the changes He will be making in your life to transform you into what He has created and planned for you to become. Praise Him for the things that He will be able to do through you once He has completed His weeding process and you have become steadfast in your faith in spite of the stresses and trials. In your journal today list the praises of the work you see God doing in your life. Praise Him for the trials that are shaping and strengthening you and developing you into a beautiful sweet smelling rose.