Count it All Joy

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith prduces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” ~ James 1:2-4

 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation develops perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~ Romans 5:3-5

 God has been showing me some really neat things lately. I have found myself continually coming back to a place of frustration with my character. It may be small things from day to day but they seem to wear on me over time. My impatience with people around me instead of exuding the characteristics of the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23); my desire to control everything around me instead of giving up the control to God and allowing Him to move; my exhaustion from trying to be a “christian” instead of laying down my burdens and seeking Him DAILY for His strength and desires each day (Luke 9:23-24).

 I find myself struggling with negative thoughts every single day. They can be negative thoughts about myself, about a situation or about other people. I don’t even know where these thoughts come from, they just pop into my head from out of nowhere (Romans 7:15-25). My problem lies not in the thoughts arising in my mind but in my weakness in allowing those thoughts to fester up inside of me eventually leading to a volcanic eruption expressed by these things listed above: impatience, anger, exhaustion, control and just pure ugliness. And then my temptation is to out of my own control and strength try with all my might to prevent and ignore these thoughts. I try to find a way to do this on my own. Well, my God is a God who desires to walk IN FELLOWSHIP with me. He doesn’t want me to have to rely on my own strength to do it on my own (after all my own strength is what failed me in the first place leading to the weakness that causes these volcanic eruptions). He wants me to seek Him every day, asking Him to give me the strength I need for this day to overcome these things and for the wisdom to know when these things are happening.

 I found myself for the first time yesterday with a glimpse of what it means to “glory in tribulations” and to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials”. I hardly would consider these things as trials when compared to some of the monstrous things people are forced to deal with daily but they are trials on a smaller level. I found myself picturing God using these as opportunities to craft me into the woman He created me to be. Not the woman I can stumble to hope to become some day, but the woman He sees me as in His eyes, a Godly woman who desires to glorify Him with every aspect of my life (Proverbs 31:10-31 – A Woman of Noble Character). This woman will not come into existence if I don’t depend on Him daily and the thought of me becoming her excites me greatly!

 I find joy with each negative thought that crosses my mind as it is a reminder of my weakness and my need for my Savior. If these negative thoughts didn’t cross my mind then I would think I had it all together and didn’t need Him… which is the farthest thing from the truth. So I WILL rejoice in these daily trials and use them to remind me of Him and to stop each time and seek Him in prayer for strength and the fruit of the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I have never before felt this way or seen this situation in this way but now that God has brought some enlightenment to it I feel a new freedom and excitement, instead of feeling defeated and frustrated.

 ” ‘If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.’ ” ~ Luke 9: 23-24

 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 1And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” ~ Romans 7: 15-25

 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


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