As followers of Christ, we should have a radically different perspective of how we handle suffering than how nonbelievers handle suffering. In today’s passage, James urges us to consider each moment of suffering as an opportunity for great joy.
I know that it sounds odd, to be joyful in the midst of suffering; but, as Christ followers, you and I have something that nonbelievers do not have, and that is Jesus. When our faith is firmly rooted in Jesus, Whom we know is sovereign over every fiber of our being and aspect of our life, then by our faith we should trust in Him and His purpose, plan, and provision for each moment, which includes moments of suffering. Remember, God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Friends, our faith should be growing daily. How? Well, we should be in the Word of God all of the time and praying for His wisdom to grow us closer to Him and away from this dark world. During yesterday’s sermon, Pastor Mary spoke about a call to obedience. You and I cannot be people who are divided in our loyalty. We need to make a choice, we either choose God or we choose this world. Once we choose God, and in order for our faith to grow, we cannot simply just attend a Sunday service once a week and expect that when a storm of suffering comes our way that our roots of Truth are deep enough to not only withstand the pressure of the storm, but to be joyful in the midst of it. The only way that we can stand joyful and endure the pressure of a storm is if we are standing loyal and obedient to God and against the ways of this world in our faith, at all times, then we get a chance to continue to grow with Jesus.
James 1:2-8 NLT
Faith and Endurance
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for being our source of joy. Help us to continue to grow in our faith with You so that we can endure through the toughest storms until we cross over to be with You in eternity. Keep us rooted in Your Word each day and help us to fixate our spiritual eyes on You, Jesus. We ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.