Character, Growth, Wisdom, and Joy

James 1:2-5
“Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

How do we go about finding the true depth of our character? We find out who we are when we are surrounded by the hard of life, and it is when we are in those hard places that ‘who we are,’ comes to the surface, whether good or bad. How do you treat others when your world is not going well? Are you kind, or do you suddenly become someone else? Do you get an attitude that others catch just because they happen to cross your path? Are you jealous of others’ good fortune, or easy pass that you feel they are getting?

God wants to make us mature and complete, and that happens when we are pressed in and shaken up. When the hard of life steps on our hearts, minds, and bodies. God does not desire to keep us from trials, instead, he presses us in those places where He knows we need it. He makes us look hard at what we believe about Him. These moments are not meant to completely break us, but instead are opportunities for growth and a deeper walk with Christ.

God has promised us many times in His word that He is always with us. There is no trial, no pain, no hardship that we face alone. He is always there to comfort, help, and guide. We just need to ask Him. We need only to talk to him, tell him what we need, and wait for His answer to come. He will give us the strength we need to endure. All too often we want instant deliverance. We do not like being uncomfortable, sick, weary, hurting, or whatever it may be. We don’t like hard relationships or a job that stresses out. We want him to wave a magic wand over us, and it instantly is gone.

Often what we need is wisdom. And God promises when we seek His wisdom or wisdom for a circumstance that he will give it. He can show us the right path to take if we but ask. There is no need for a Christian to grope around, hoping to just happen upon a good answer, when we call on Him for wisdom and help, it is ours for the taking! Wisdom is “practical discerning.” We gain wisdom when we fear and reverence God, when we live right before Him, and obey His word. As a result of all of these, we are better able to discern between right and wrong, this or that.

We need always to read God’s word. It is living and active and its pages are filled with the knowledge of God, and what He desires from us and for us. The power those pages contain, can and will change our lives. The pages of the bible contain the truest truths. God’s word reveals who He is, and teaches us about His love for us, His faithfulness, His keeping power, Salvation and Righteousness. His word reminds us that we are His children, and as His children, He cares for us and supplies our every need.

Do you know it is possible to have joy even on your worst day? Happiness is fleeting, it can come or go depending on how things are going, or what side of the bed we got upon, but joy comes from that deep place inside of us, that place where we reside in Christ Jesus. Joy is security in knowing Him, Eternal Salvation, Security in Christ, Forgiveness, Grace, Mercy, Hope, His faithfulness, even when we are not. It comes when we read and pray, and pray and read. When we open His living and active word and we feed on the manna inside. Joy is not determined by my circumstances.

When life gets hard, keep on keeping on. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. See the problems of life through the lens of Jesus and not Jesus through your problems. Remember who you are, and whose you are. Look back at all He has seen you through. Look back at how He took care of His own all through the pages of scripture.

Let’s face it, life is hard, and nowadays it seems harder. People seem meaner, more impatient. We have so much input from our phones and computers. The world’s messed-up views creep into our minds and hearts and we start reacting as the world does. STOP! REPENT OF YOUR DIVIDED HEART, SEEK GOD, PRAY, READ HIS WORD, FIX YOUR EYES ON HIM…when you do, those things that seemed to be too much, that threatened to overwhelm, will shrink. Look for the lesson in the hard, and remember, He is right there, waiting for you to say; “daddy I need you.”

I have been walking in a hard season for a while. Just a couple of days ago I caught myself focusing on all the things I did not like, wanting to see it end, right that moment. I wanted God to say, enough and wave a magic wand and make it all better. It did not last long, I decided to take a long walk. I started with I am sorry, forgive me, then I moved into worship and praise, and then I just walked in silence knowing that this too shall pass, He is with me, He is sustaining me, He is loving me, and He has been faithful to supply all my needs and most of my wants. He is a GOOD, GOOD FATHER. My sour attitude dissipated and I felt His warmth again.

We are promised trials and tribulations…how we respond, and the things we learn…well it is in our character…it is in the hard when we find out who we are, and what we believe about God.

I believe He was and is, and will always be…and one day my trials will end, the trumpet will sound and I will be caught up in the air, to meet Him, my faith now sight, forevermore with the one who called me and saved me. OH, WHAT A DAY!