Honestly, joy eludes me most of the time. That place in my soul is labeled “work in progress.”
One of my gifts during Illustrated Faith's #gratitudedocumented was a new look at the scripture for JOY.
James 1:2-4 in the Amplified says,
(2) Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.
(3) Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
(4) But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
I have read this scripture probably a hundred times. I understand it in my head and have submitted my heart to God and asked Him to empower me to walk it out; but I miss the mark most of the time. I am serious when times are serious. I have been given the gift of faith and I am a warrior with hyperfocus. But Quite frankly, when it comes to joy and times are hard, I become a porcupine. My quills are extended in defense of any motion that might knock me off balance and keep my focus from truth. There just isn’t room for joy. It can’t even get near me!
Well, obviously this is far from God’s will because He clearly says, count it ALL joy! Joy! Oh my! Porcupines aren’t joyful! They are prickly and hard to get near. They are operating in fright and defense as if they don’t have any method of remaining safe except their sharp quills.
As a children of God, we can be grateful that we are NOT dependent on ourselves for eternal safety. We don’t have to extend our quills in defense. In fact, they won’t do us much good anyway. We can trust our hearts and loved ones to our Lord who promises us endurance, steadfast faith, and patience as a fruit of any battle. He promises to complete us so that we are lacking nothing!
Therein, my dear friends, is the JOY. It’s up to Him. Our hope is in Him. And He can do all things! My quills should be shouting and spitting rays of JOY that I will never be alone. He will always be my defense and stronghold, and He will complete any work He begins in me (Psalm 57:2 and Philippians 1:6). No trial, temptation, or storm will be without purpose. I can count it all JOY.
I’m praying God will help me to continue to move toward this truth and to walk it out fully. I am grateful that He hears my prayer and knows my heart. One day, I will be walking without my quills extended. I will be walking in JOY. I think I am a little closer already.
dwelling in creative grace,
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