Today’s Devotional is offered by Alex and Darcy Drake.
James 1:2-3 “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.”
We have celebrated all season with the climax being Christmas Day because of the knowledge that Jesus was born to us! Because of His birth, we can have pure Joy in all that we do. What is pure Joy? We believe it is greater than happiness. It is NOT a Joy that is temporary or passing. It is not presents under the tree, boxes from Amazon, Starbucks or Netflix. With pure Joy, you have Hope, Peace, and Love too!
Joy doesn’t always come in the form of pure happiness without difficulties and hardships. It was a purely Joyous night when Christ was born, but many trials were encountered to bring Him into the world: an unmarried pregnant virgin, a man faced with this and the decision to trust and have faith, a long journey to Bethlehem, no place but a stable with a manger to give birth, and even labor itself! Through these many trials and the testing of faith, Mary and Joseph had a strong perseverance or persistence despite the difficulties and delivered to the world the Joy of our Savior! What an honor to have been given these trials!
We all face our own life challenges and trials of many different kinds. We reflect on our lives and the blessings we’ve been given by each of our children. Each brings a wonderful and unique story to our family. Vivie’s story is the one that comes to mind when reading James 1:2-3. We could never have imagined the challenging trial our family would embark upon with the birth of our second daughter, Vivie, and the countless ways it has brought our entire family closer. We think of the unwavering faith and trust that Mary and Joseph must have had in their journey as well and know that the only way challenges like these are met successfully is with a higher power in control by our sides. When we face these types of life trials, our faith is put to the test. When we endure and persevere through them, we truly gain our souls, and it becomes apparent that we can only successfully face these challenges with Jesus by our sides and in our hearts. With Jesus, we can rest comfortably knowing that He would not place us into these trials if He didn’t already know that we have the power to conquer them. How deeply honored we are to be given these trials! Through them, we have gained a stronger faith and relationship with God. With those strengths, we can live more Joyfully. Vivie is undoubtedly our angel from Him. She and all of our children have brought God’s Joy into our lives!
Thank heaven that pure Joy isn’t fleeting. It doesn’t leave you like your good mood may when you’re having difficulty downloading something on your phone. It’s not fleeting like the peaceful moment right before the hectic chaos breaks loose at 6 pm in our house! It doesn’t change as quickly as we can change from calm to anxious when you walk into your home that looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in weeks. So when you think, “how can I be full of Joy in times like this,” or “my Joy is gone,” remember that those are just passing moments. Pure Joy is a Joy that is PERMANENT and sustainable through any trial or tribulation. Because God sent his son who taught and lived His word, we are able to know and have pure Joy. We can feel honored and full of Joy to be given challenging trials knowing the strength of faith they produce. And by knowing and having Joy, we can feel Hope in our everyday struggles; we can be blanketed by Peace when we allow it; we can have Love surround us.
Thanks be to God for sending his son so that we can live a life of Joy, Hope, Peace, and Love!
Prayer: Lord we thank you for the challenging life trials you have laid before us because each brings us stronger in our faith and relationship with you. We are thankful for the pure Joy you have allowed us to experience through you and ask that you continue to guide us every day of our lives. Amen.