I was sitting in the early morning hours reading my Bible. I do this every day no matter what. Anyhow, I was beginning to read, yet again, the Book of James. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have read my Bible in its entirety, and as many times as I have read the Bible, I am certain I have read James much more. This time I got stuck reflecting on the first couple of verses—
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of
many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces
perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature
and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should
ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given
As I was reading these verses, I had an epiphany and I thought to myself, the reason some people do not succeed in life is because they have not learned how to look at their challenges as learning and growing experiences. They allow their circumstances to define whether they will live joyful and victorious lives. God wants us to be joyful and content regardless of our circumstances because there will always be a lesson we can learn from them.
Let me explain what I mean. Every time I have faced something in my personal or professional life, in hindsight, I can see where God was maturing me. Not only did I learn how to cope with a person or situation, I learned how to rely on Him more and less on myself. When I learned to trust Him and not turn to others (who will only gossip or cause you to doubt yourself) He provided me with the insight I needed to not only survive, but to thrive. Also, when I turned to Him, He allowed me to see that I was growing in some skillset that I would later leverage in my personal or professional life.
“Consider it pure joy…” means not to worry or get stressed over a situation that you cannot control. It means to rest in the Lord and to be still and allow His work to be done in and through you. It means to trust Him and do so with a joyful heart. If you trust Him, you will probably be a lot more positive and relaxed.
During those times when you become frustrated, short with others, and impatient with the situation, know you won’t remain in that condition for long. Why? The Holy Spirit will remind you that faith tested builds perseverance and perseverance causes you to completely mature in all that you do. If you don’t know how to face your challenges with joy, ask God. He will give you the answers you need.