Sunday, May 8, 2011

COUNT IT ALL JOY?!

Before we get started with today's reading I wanted to look at the definition of a term:

Paradigm Shift:
a radical change in underlying beliefs or theory

In reading the definition of paradigm shift, I guess we could easily conclude that James had a HUGE paradigm shift. James then goes on to pen a letter for all of us that calls all who belong to Christ to a dramatic shift in thinking, a radical change in belief, a paradigm shift.

Many of us have spent much of our life feeling woe when things don't go well for us. The truth is, it doesn't even take any effort to feel bad for ourselves, we are great at throwing our own pity parties. James, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, calls us to a different standard:

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

Friends quit calling, count it all joy. Doctor has bad news, count it all joy. Lose your job, count it all joy. Fill in the blank, count it all joy.

Even as I write this I am thinking, “that's madness”....”COUNT IT ALL JOY?!”

Then I quickly came back to this foundation, “I didn't write it, I just believe it”. If God says I should count it joy, that's what I have to do. After all, what are trials doing? Trials test our faith, don't they? It is a kind of, “where the rubber meets the road kind of thing.”

James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

When your health fails, will you feel woe and seek the wisdom of man first, or will you seek God? I'm not saying doctors don't have some answers, but when we belong to Christ, He is who we need to seek first. Plug in your own trial and ask yourself, did I seek God first, or did I try to solve it my way first. I have to confess, before I was saved I would get irritated when I'd have a problem and someone would say, “we need to pray”. My attitude was, “yea, that's great, but I need some real solutions and I need them NOW”. Now I understand that when we have surrendered our life to the King, everything happens in His time. I think that is why James says the testing of our faith produces patience. When we seek Him first, the answer often requires patience. Waiting on The Lord is very difficult, especially for those “rugged individuals” that want to “get 'er done”.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 37:7-9 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

James 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

PATIENCE, n. pa'shens. [L. patientia, from patior, to suffer.]

1. The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness. Patience may spring from constitutional fortitude, from a kind of heroic pride, or from christian submission to the divine will.

2. A calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent.

3. The act or quality of waiting long for justice or expected good without discontent.

4. Perseverance; constancy in labor or exertion.

5. The quality of bearing offenses and injuries without anger or revenge.

Talk about a paradigm shift. It is so cool how The Lord will show you things. I use E-Sword when I write these posts and one of the tools on E-Sword is a dictionary. I thought I was done with today's post when the cursor was on the word “patience”. That is why I pasted it above. As I read the definition, the Lord clearly revealed to me, “yes, you need to wait on Me; however, the patience I am talking about here is how you respond when you face trials and persecution for your faith. How are you going to respond when you are persecuted for belonging to Me?”

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