JOY BOOKLET 5: Still have Joy when Things are Tough
Lord, help me understand that there is a purpose for the tough times and help me not be tempted to solve the pain by escaping and using my sinful habits. Let my focus be on You in the tough times.
Recap week 1: God delights in me: He celebrates when I turn to him, and seek Him
Recap week 2: There is possible purpose and hope in suffering as I turn to God and recognize that He is in control and bringing glory to Christ is the goal and prize.
Recap week 3: God longs to delight in me especially as I turn to Him and recognize that He has paid all the price for my rebellion in Christ Jesus. A new path linked with a deep joy is now possible!
Recap week 4: God is constant and knows me intimately.
Bible: James 1: 2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Sometimes life is tough. The early Christians had it tough through severe persecution plus normal everyday struggles. We are also good at creating problems for ourselves. That is what happens when we choose to save ourselves by using or acting out our addictive habits. There is only one Saviour and it is not you or your addictive habit or substance. There is usually no quick fix to our problems and this week’s passage seems to suggest this with the word; perseverance. The ability to “Consider it pure joy” can only happen if our focus is off ourselves and our problems and placed on the Saviour; his purpose, which is to grow you into a mature believer, not lacking anything.
Read this week’s passage every day and practice thanking and taking delight in God in your difficult moments. It might be a difficult relationship, a worry, loneliness, life not going just as you would like it, disappointments . . .You might find something where you are “stuck” and simply cannot thank God; this is the time to call a friend, talk to a leader and ask for prayer and counsel.
You are focusing on God in the difficult circumstance not indulging in the suffering itself. It is alright not to like the circumstance but it is important to recognize that God is with you and is growing you in and through the difficult times.
End of Day:
Think through the circumstances of the day, thanking God for each one and being grateful for each moment not simply the good ones. Read the daily passage again, going to sleep with Scripture on your mind.
You might choose to write down your prayers and thoughts, or rewrite the Bible passage in your own words as a prayer.