Happy spring, everyone! I’ll be bringing you some fun spring ideas here in the next few weeks, but today I thought I’d share something I’ve been learning recently.
I made it my goal this past fall to memorize the book of James and I’ve gotten through most of the first two chapters. And I have to say, it’s been very rewarding to really know God’s Word…even if it is only two chapters so far! But, I was listening to a sermon the other day and the pastor mentioned that you can memorize, read, and study all day long but if you don’t actually apply it and let it change you, then it’s worth nothing. Oops. That’s exactly what I had been doing…memorizing the verses in James without really stopping to think about what I needed to learn from them. So I decided to go back through what I had already memorized and really look for ways I could apply those verses to my life.
Well, my friends, it didn’t take long! In the very beginning of James, it says “my brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Originally, I just glossed over those words. I thought, yep, those words are applicable when facing major trials…financial difficulty, a marriage that’s on the rocks, grief, sickness, persecution. You know, the “big” trials in life. But when I went back over those verses, I noticed something. James doesn’t say “major trials”, he says “various trials”. Big trials, small trials, and the trials somewhere in the middle. So it got me thinking…do I count it all joy even in the small trials? Or do I have a bad attitude, throw myself a little pity party, and complain?
Here’s a few example of the little trials I’m talking about-
when my baby wakes up multiple times in the middle of the night for no reason
when my husband doesn’t meet my expectations
when someone doesn’t respond the way I want them to
when things don’t go according to plan
when I can’t fix a problem
when my little boy wakes up from his nap early and I don’t get to finish whatever it is I’m doing
when someone lies about you
when a family member says something hurtful
when I’m tired and just don’t feel accomplishing anything
when I don’t get my to-do list done for the day
when you’re dealing with a sick kid (or husband)
when I feel like I “deserve” more…more time to myself, more romance from my husband, more money, more clothes, more sleep
All of these things are minor when compared to the major trials so many people have been or are going through right now. And yet we are told to count it all joy no matter the size of the trial. It’s hard! Whether the trial is big or small, my first natural response certainly isn’t joy. It’s frustration, anger, anxiety, annoyance, resentment. And yet, with God’s help, we can choose joy. It’s a choice. A choice not based on feelings or on our own selfish desires. And that’s why it’s just so darn difficult. But let me remind you as I have to often remind myself…we were never promised easy! I failed to choose joy so many times yesterday that I hesitated to even post this today. But just as God gives us the grace to choose joy, he also gives us forgiveness and the chance to start over
if when we fail.
When we’re tempted to respond with something other than joy, remember that every trial provides an opportunity to glorify God. The end of the verse says “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, but let patience have it’s perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Let those little daily trials serve their purpose…to transform us more and more into the likeness of Christ.
I created a “count it all joy” printable for all of you, because sometimes it just helps to have a visual reminder as you go about your day. Just click on the link below! I hope you enjoy!