When going through tough times, the first thing that usually happens is your emotions take over. You get mad, upset, cry, and worry, among other things. But let’s look at a better way to respond.
JAMES 1:2–7 (NLT)
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.
James is pointing out that after your emotions have set in, remember what the Word says and who to trust in.
If you look to and put your trust in the Lord, He will take care of you.
At some point in your life, you will experience disappointment. When that day comes, you have a choice. You can throw in the towel and let Satan win. Or you can consider the problem to be an opportunity to experience great joy.
It’s not easy to be joyful in the middle of a trial. Joy isn’t a natural emotion in periods of difficulty. But that’s when you can’t forget what the Bible says. The Greater One lives in us, and He is greater than the devil who is in the world (1 John 4:4). The Word also says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). Whether you have joy is up to you. Regardless of what happens, the devil cannot steal your joy unless you allow him.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
It is a lot more fun to live life joyfully than worried. I was thinking about how happy my granddaughter always is. The reason is that she has nothing to worry about. My granddaughter knows that no matter what, her family will take care of her.
As Christians grow in the Lord, they seem to forget that God will help them come what may. They forget how good He is because they are too busy looking at their problems. But if you look to and put your trust in the Lord, He will take care of you.
We have all seen people who laugh at inappropriate times. It might seem wrong to laugh when things in our lives are crummy, but that’s exactly when you should! Someone may ask, “Why are you laughing when everything is going bad in your life?” When you count it all joy, you can confidently say, “Because I know the Greater One. My God has not brought me this far to let me down. I will make it through to the other side! I don’t have to worry because my trust is in God.”
Faith Under Pressure
The time to dig in your heels and not be moved by what you see or feel is when it appears that your situation isn’t changing. Many fights are longer than expected, and you have to endure for a season. Keeping the right attitude, choosing joy, and trusting in the Greater One will cause your faith to grow and your endurance to develop. The next time the enemy comes at you with everything he has, it won’t be a big deal because you will know what to do.
Ask for Wisdom
No matter how educated someone is, no one knows everything. And in some situations, you just aren’t sure what step to take. That’s when to ask the One Who has a solution for every situation. When you ask God for wisdom, He will generously give you what you need and not make you feel bad for asking.
Throughout scripture, Christians are encouraged to ask of God. Yet many times when trouble comes knocking, in addition to not counting it all joy, they don’t ask the Lord for help.
James 4:2 (NIV) says, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” In John 15:7, you are told to “ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Someone may say, “Well, God knows I need help.” It is true that He is all-seeing and all-knowing, but He is waiting for you to ask!
Don’t Be a Spiritual Teeter-Totter
After petitioning God, it is crucial to put your faith in Him alone and don’t look back. James 1:6 tells us that wavering is what keeps people from receiving what they have asked for.
Many people are what I call “spiritual teeter-totters.” They are up one day and down the next. This happens because they listen to the lies of the devil instead of what God said. James says that a person who wavers should not expect to receive anything from God (v. 7). So if you’ve been up and down, decide today to get up and stay up!
The bottom line is this: when your trust is in the Lord, the issue is settled. When you have done all you know to do, then stand (Eph. 6:13).
Your situation may seem huge to you, but it’s not to God. Renewing your mind with the Word will cause you to see the problem from His perspective.
God is giving you every opportunity to have joy. The choice is yours. Psalm 30:5 says, “Joy cometh in the morning.” However, you don’t have to wait until the morning (until the test is over). You can have joy now because the Greater One has taken up residence in you. You win because Jesus has already won.
When troubles and disappointment come this year, next week, or in the next hour, understand that it is only temporary. Don’t pay attention to what the devil is saying. Instead, choose joy, ask God for wisdom, dig in your heels, and don’t waver. See your situation through God’s eyes. He has everything under control. Know that as you trust Him—you are going to make it!
Craig W. Hagin
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