Tag Archives: joy

Enjoying Trials or Joy in Trials

Enjoying Trials or Joy in Trials

By Carolyn Dale Newell

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4 NKJV

No one can honestly say they enjoy a trial, but James encourages us to look for the joy within a trial. We must seek the long-term silver lining in every storm.

The phrase “fall into” implies being plunged into difficulties. Situations that aren’t a consequence of our choices. Sudden and unexpected torment invades our lives and overwhelms us.

Tribulations test our faith as well as increasing it. Troubles also produce patience, which we need because we have a tendency to race through these tough seasons. When we rush our storms, we miss out on God’s purpose: the patience, joy, and perfecting work of God. Not that we achieve perfection before heaven, but we are made complete.

Failure to endure hardships means we will need another opportunity to get it right. I am no fan of lingering in times of affliction, but I prefer to get it right the first time.

The Greek word for patience is “hupomone .” It refers to an active endurance. While we are not passively waiting, we must seek God’s direction about what He desires for us to do.

My first major test of faith as a Christian was my husband’s leukemia. I learned a lot during those years. I discovered more about God’s grace as I suffered through depression and a breast cancer scare. When my vision took a drastic decline, I understood more about the refining fire we endure. The previous problems passed, but the visual impairment continues. God’s grace and mercy surround me. I consider my blindness a privilege, because it has been an honor to watch God accomplish His work in me and through me. That is my source of joy.

We baked Iva a cake today for her fourth birthday. Yes, a cake for my guide dog. If we had pulled it out of the oven early, it would have fallen apart. If we left it too long, it would have burnt.

God has perfect timing, and He knows just when to remove us from the fire. Faith, like precious gems must undergo a refining process.

Allow the words of James to help you through the sickness, the brokenness, the grief, the financial setback, the problem at work, the problem at home, and the depression. Search until you find that joy. Remain in the fire of testing until God says you are done. Perfect. Lacking nothing.

Trials don’t come to hurt us, but to help us.

Lord, we hate tribulation, but we submit to Your timetable, so that You may have Your perfect work in our lives. Illuminate the joy we desperately seek. We trust You in our mess. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read James 1:2-8 and verse 19.

HIKING THE TRAIL

You are either in a trial, just coming out of one, or heading into one. Keep a journal of the joys, big and small, that you encounter as you pass through the fire.

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.

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Becoming More Like Christ

Becoming More Like Christ

By Carolyn Dale Newell

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Philippians 2:5 NKJV

The desire of every Christian should be to become more like Christ. Is that realistic? Jesus was perfect and without sin. How can we pattern our lives after Christ while still living on earth?

We can have the mindset of Jesus. Yes, with the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we can achieve it. Christ thought of others before He thought of Himself. He put us first. That is what Paul explains in Philippians chapter two.

Beginning with verse one, Paul tells believers we have been encouraged by the Lord. In the Greek, the “consolation of His love” refers to Jesus coming close and whispering hope to us.

Then Paul speaks of our fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit dwells in all believers. Therefore, there should be unity.

When churches become fractured, it quenches and grieves the Spirit. Cliques only serve to weaken a church.

Paul continues in verse 2:

fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

This is our to-do list that will transform us from self-centered to other-centered and unite the body of Christ.

Like minded is equivalent to right thinking and having the same mind. The same love refers to loving others equally, not preferring some above others and especially not putting ourselves before them either. One accord denotes selflessness. One mind is intent on the same thing.

Next, Paul tells us about our wrong attitudes, the ones we need to put to death.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Phil. 2:3)

Self is at the center of every sin. Paul is referring to seeking to serve self and self-glorification.

Our focal verse is a command, but it is an action we must choose. The Holy Spirit convicted me as I studied this chapter. I am seeking God’s guidance as I choose to have a servant’s mentality.

I challenge you to do likewise. You can take a giant step in becoming more Christlike when you humbly decide to think of someone else before yourself. What would our churches be like if we were all concerned about others more? When we take care of others, God takes care of us. If we all sought the good of another person, we would embrace the joy Paul wrote about. How would our communities’ benefit if all Christians sought to meet the needs of someone else?

It begins with one person. We cannot make decisions for anyone else, but I encourage you to join me and one-by-one we will make a difference.

Lord Jesus, we long to be more like You. Remove our selfishness and replace it with selflessness. Give us opportunities to meet the needs of someone else. In Jesus’ name, Amen

DIG DEEPER

Read Philippians 2:1-11.

HIKING THE TRAIL

What is one thing you can do today to put the needs of another before yourself?

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.