I have spent the last week at home with three sick kids. Not so bad maybe, but I too, was sick. We
have had the flu that has just physically drained us. You may be wondering why I titled this "Count it All Joy." Let's looks a little further and see if you can find joy in moments such as these.
I have spent a lot of time since Thanksgiving diving into the attitude of living with joy and living with a heart of gratitude, being thankful for all that God has given me.
I know that I have been given so much and I just wanted to find the joy in it all. If you read my blog entry about a month ago titled, "Do we have a thankful heart?" I challenged people to wake up everyday and just thank God and praise God for all that you have been given.
I did not want to only challenge you but to challenge my own heart. I know that God has given me so much, yet I was having a hard time really appreciating it, quite honestly. Before I open my eyes everyday, I just thank God and praise Him for everything. I ask Him to help me be grateful for the things in my day.
Let's look at joy from James' perspective. I have been studying the book of James. What a great resource for Christian living. James 1:2 says: "Count it all joy, my brothers, for when you face trials of various kinds, they produce steadfastness."
Let's look at the first part of the verse. Count it all joy. Some versions say, consider it all joy. You might be saying yeah right. I have a really sick kid, I am sick, I lost my job, my husband left me, we can't pay the bills, you don't know the problems that I am facing and you are telling me to consider it all joy.
Seems ridiculous, seems impoossible. I didn't say it was easy. So hang in there with me. James continues the verse with "when we face trial of various kinds". Think about the trials you may be going through right now. Make a list if you have to. What are you being faced with?
Next to each of your troubles or after you say each of those things say, "count it all joy".
Now, can you think of somthing good that has come from each of those things. You may be knee deep in the middle of a trial or just at the beginnng of a trial, you may be thinking I am really crazy right now. Hold on to this thought, not the crazy part.
Try thanking God, in advance, for whatever He is going to bring you through in this trial. Praise Him for all He has given you and pray that He will teach you something or bring you closer to Him.
Like I said, I have been home all week long and all I wanted to do was lay on the couch or stay in bed, I was physically drained. I had breathing problems, coughing, aching, chills, the whole works. On top of all that, I was completely out numbered with three little people that needed me to tend to their same ailments. They were less excited about being sick than I was. The whole week, I had these four little words ringing in my head. COUNT IT ALL JOY. COUNT IT ALL JOY!
What God? What are you asking of me, right now? COUNT IT ALL JOY?
I can tell you time and time again, whether I was dealing with a tantrum, not my own, or crying, my own, or just getting through the day's routine, I was feeling more grateful. I was glad to have all my kids with me, sick or not. I was glad to be needed and I was glad to be able to just get through the day. I was glad we were home and not in the hospital.
I am not telling you that just saying it is all joy will make life easy breezy, all sugar plums and lollipops. There are still trials, there are still things that we face big and small. I am not just telling you positive talk or thinking and repeating great things will get you through those trials.
First, it starts with a relationship with Jesus Christ. He was my joy in the midst of my trials. He was the One that has helped deliver me on the other side of what I face with an attitude of gratitude.
Second, through obedience to Him and His Word, I can go through trials and learn to find the joy in what He has given me, good and bad.
This brings us to the second half of the verse, this produces steadfastness. Steadfastness means to stand firm, to not be wavering in your faith.
You see, we can face trials, we can find joy in the midst of them or at the end of them. James is directing us to God, he is saying consider it joy because these trials can lead you to leaning more on Christ and making you firmer in your faith.
In our trials, we can face them alone, we can conquer all that life throws at us, or In Christ, we can count on Him and His strength to get us through our trials and experience the joy that walking closer to Him will lead us.
I know that God will heal us, I don't know all that will be involved in that process, but standing firm with Him in my corner, I can just keep saying COUNT IT ALL JOY and I am able to experience more joy and gratitude that He can bring even in my times of trial.
A heart of thanksgiving will lead to more gratitude, love, and humility for the One who delivers you through your trials.
I pray that whatever you are going through, you will be able to find joy in your relationship and walk with Christ.
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Seek Him First! Today's Bible Reading
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
It is of utmost importance that you know that Christ died for you. He died for all sinners so that our relationship with Him could be restored.
Because of His sacrifice on the cross we can have peace. Are you seeking more peace today? Peace of the soul can only be given through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.
I hope that you, too, know the saving grace of an amazing God.
If you have questions about how to know more you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org