Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails 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. James 1.2-4
A “work in progress.”
And I am thankful that I don’t have to go through this transformation all in one shot:
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1.6
This has been a trying year for me…one full of financial strain, relational issues, situations I had gotten myself into that left me wondering how on earth I’d ever get out, forgiveness, redemption, renewal and joy.
I have to include that as I am happier now than I’ve been in a long time. Now, don’t get me wrong. My days aren’t perfect nor are they magically full of rainbows and sunshine.
Joy is a choice I make upon pulling the covers back each morning and, at times, with each passing moment. And it’s hard.
Is it ever!
Truth is, I’m faced with trials that allow me to grow with each passing day. From trying callers at work to a friend who cancels last minute, I’m faced with the choice of joyfully extending grace or being what I like to call a “negative ninny.” I do not like what the latter does to my heart (or my day). I despise it, actually.
It’s easy to fall back into old patterns and habits rather than allowing Jesus to change the way I react in certain situations.
How many times am I faced with a tough (and sometimes not so tough) situation and immediately pray for God to fix it? How many times do I ask Him to make it go away without seeking out His Word or asking Him to help me walk through it?
How about when He answers in a way I don’t like?
“Not that way.”
“Keep doing what you’re doing, Anita, and wait.”
Or, my personal favorite: “Why don’t you spend time with me instead?” How convicting is that?
Most of the time, I know what God wants me to do…I just don’t want to do it; at least not in that moment.
How about you? I know I’m not alone in this. We all deal with it. We all struggle with trials and most of us fight change to no end.
We must learn to seek His face first, in any and all situations. We also have to be willing to listen to His answer and to obey. We must consider it pure joy when we face any trial, especially when it changes us. “The new creation has come…The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
We cannot escape the trials and temptations we go through in life. Though they are hard to endure, they develop endurance and patience within us. We need to let these be developed in our lives so that we may become what God intended us to be, lacking nothing. In knowing this, we can consider it joyful because of what is developed in us as a result. That mindset is hard to grasp, but when you look beyond the trial and understand the purpose of it, what it accomplishes in us should be considered joyful.
I am not the girl I was a year ago. Granted, she’s still there as she’s a part of who I am becoming, but God has since touched my heart and has left me forever changed, moment by ever-chaning moment. And I know that change will continue…that’s one guarantee I can hold on to.
And for that, my friends and family, I am grateful.