Trials: Consider – April 4, 2016

James 1:1, James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Isaiah 26:3, You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Yesterday, I began a new teaching series at Cottonwood Creek called, Legit Faith: All Day, Everyday! We are looking at the book of James, which was written by James, the brother of Jesus. For most of his life, James was a skeptic when it came to Jesus being the Messiah and the Son of God. However, his skepticism became a legitimate faith once he saw his brother Jesus literally rise from the dead.

The book of James is filled with practical advice on living the Christian life all day, everyday. One of the very first issues James speaks of in the book is the issue of trials in our lives. He wrote in James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” To be honest, that verse just flat out seems counterintuitive. How in the world can we have pure joy in the midst of a trial? Honestly, it is only possible when we have the right mindset. That first word considers means to think rightly about what is going on. It means using careful and well thought out judgment instead of being tossed around by our feelings. And the only way to think rightly about what is going on is by focusing our mind on God and not the trial. Read this verse in Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” In other words, we can only have peace in the midst of our trials when our minds are set on trusting God in spite of our circumstances.

Join me the rest of the week as I share four ideas James shared about trials.

Think about it…and have a blessed day!
John Mark Caton, Ph.D