DayBreaks for 03/25/11 – Joy and Happiness

DayBreaks for 03/25/11 – Joy and Happiness

 

Consider it joy...

James 1:2-4 says: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

This may seem like a very strange passage.  Passages such as this may be part of the reason that some people consider Christianity to be crazy!  Think about it: “Consider it all joy…when you encounter lots of trials”?  It is almost enough to make one think that James was a bit off his rocker when he wrote this.  I mean, could James have really believed that trials are joyful?

Yes, that is precisely what he wrote.  It is worth noting what he did not say: “Consider yourself lucky” or “Don’t trials make you really happy?” He didn’t say those things.  He said, “Consider it all joy.” There is a marked difference between joy and happiness.

In his book, Shattered Dreams, author and psychologist Larry Crabb wrote, “People who insist on happiness never find joy.” Happiness, Crabb says, is a result of favorable circumstances and events, it comes and goes by nature; but joy isn’t that way.  Joy remains, even when circumstances are not favorable.  Joy is a like a calmness river that runs beneath the varied circumstances of life, and it is a delight that life’s circumstances can’t take away.  Joy, Christian joy, is a delight that gives us something to hold on to regardless of what is happening in our lives.

It isn’t the trials that bring the joy, according to James, it is what the trials produce in us: Christlikeness!

PRAYER: Let us know the joy that comes from the trials that make us become more like Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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1 thought on “DayBreaks for 03/25/11 – Joy and Happiness

  1. Galen,

    These remarks by James belong to a group of commentary that continues to be the most misunderstood, and yet most important commentary in the early Christian perspective set that have been preserved for us.

    It is about embracing the “Kingdom” as it is given to us as experience it. The “good news” of course, being that we are ALIVE to experience it. (Think about it, even the “traditional” Christian Good News being that Jesus rose from the dead, in other words, that he became LIVING again! And walked among us, THE LIVING, again.)

    For that reason, so long as you are alive, you ARE receiving the Kingdom’s blessings … even if you are hanging on a cross. And, Jesus apparently said as much as well.

    I understand that most Christians understand the meaning of our scriptures differently. It’s almost instinctive to do so. And yet, it is this misunderstanding that leads to such questions as, “Why does God, who we think of as merciful, allow suffering in the world?”

    James’ passage says, in so many words, that the question I just asked misses the point entirely. Embracing and walking in harmony within The Kingdom has nothing to do with whether or not we are suffering. It would be like asking, “Why do I keep losing my keys?” right after someone asked us, “Did you want coffee or OJ with your breakfast?”

    That joyous and precious picture you posted with today’s lesson would not have been possible without the horrific pain of childbirth. Twice! In fact, billions of times. The point being, of course, that along the way of all the suffering, pain, and hardship that comes hand in hand with the process of living that is spared from none of The Lord’s creatures … there are moments, millions and millions of moments that are wondrous and beautiful and perfect!

    Even after an ordeal on the cross!

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