My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking. James 1:2-4 TPT
James must have been the greatest optimist ever! I believe the last thing I think about when facing nothing but difficulties is joy, but according to him, tested faith stirs up power to endure all things. I could use that!
But the last part, about releasing perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing or lacking, that my friend is epic! Can you even imagine a life with nothing missing or lacking? Me neither! But I will say this, our response to what happens in our life can bring us joy or sadness and I believe that choice is always in the way we look at things.
Hear me out for a moment. When I was first married, the Lord said something to me that really changed how I went through things. I heard Him say, “You will always have rocks in your path but what you do with them is up to you. You can leave them there and trip over them every day, or put them together and build something great out of them, the choice is always yours.”
Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t kick some stones along the way or cry myself to sleep at times, but after the tears were gone and the pain in my toes stopped, I would look at what happened and think, “What am I going to do with this? Feel sorry for myself or minister to others out of it?” The choice was always the latter.
There’s a very old song I came to love which became my theme song so to speak. Written by Mahalia Jackson entitled, My Living Shall Not Be In Vain:
If I can help somebody, as I travel along, If can help somebody, with a word or song If I can help somebody, from doing wrong, then my living shall not be in vain. No, My living shall not be in vain, no my living shall not be in vain If I can help somebody as I’m singing this song, You know my living shall not be in vain.
So if it’s joy that’s ultimately responsible for releasing perfection into every part of my being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking, I’m all in! That’s how I want to live my life right there! Relying on the perfect Love of God which has been deposited in my heart to bring me to the place where I can say, “It’s no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.”
Father, I have such joy deep down in my soul that it keeps bubbling to the surface each time I think of You. Everything You’ve given to me, everything You’ve done for me and through me, I hope it brings You joy as well. Joy unspeakable and full of glory, the type that changed the atmosphere around me. It’s all for You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.