Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Supernatural Response

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds," (James 1:2)

OK, so I can hear you saying... are you kidding me? Joy? Rejoice? You mean Be Happy? It is a tough one for sure; God is calling us to put on a supernatural response rather than our human response to suffering and trials. We are talking about a response that is only imbedded in us through connection with the Holy Spirit. It is a choice we need to make and make most likely on a daily basis.

In my last two Victory Calls I talked about why God allows trials and keeping the fact that God is at work foremost in our minds is what sets the foundation for us to be able to "count it all joy". I can be joyful that:
1. God is Sovereign
2. God has infinite Wisdom
3. God is perfect in Love.

So, how can you daily commit to "being joyful"?

First, we must hold on to the Word of God. "Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight" (Ps. 119:143).

Next we must remind ourselves and hold on to His promises. I mean hold on - don't let go. Hold on like you would a life jacket if you couldn't swim. Our trials have the capacity to sink us without our firm grasp on God's promises. Talk to yourself; recall to mind the promises on a regular basis - some find it very helpful to write them all over - post them wherever your eyes may go.

We are also called to be thankful in everything (Phil. 4:3-9). There is much merit in the idea of remaining positive and keeping a positive thankful heart. When we dwell in thankfulness it is difficult to stay in the pit. By staying thankful we refuse to give in to bitterness, anger and despair which only seek to destroy. Remember what Paul said... "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13).

In doing these things we are choosing to believe in God and wait on Him for answers, direction and help. (Isaiah 40:31, Ps. 40:1-3, Ps. 37:7, Romans 8:19-25) His Word tells us that He will answer and He will speak. Listen and wait and He will lift you up. "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscious, shouts in our pain." (C.S. Lewis in the Problem of Pain)

Finally Hope in the Future. Ray Pritchard states that we must make up our mind to go on with life. He formulated a principle he calls the First Law of Spiritual Progress. It states: I can't go back, I can't stay here, I must go forward. Why do we go forward? Because what lies ahead is where God is leading us. It reminds me of a childhood song... "Onward Christian Soldiers". We move forward into battle, we move forward to where God is leading. Ultimately, we are moving forward because we know that what lies ahead is FAR BETTER (Phil. 1).

"Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:3-4).

My next victory call will be about that which we look forward to - HEAVEN! (Revelation 21:1-5)

Till then rest in the words of that great HYMN "Amazing Grace".
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come.
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

Lynne Jahns
Christian Counselor
Director, KESWICK Institute of Biblical Studies

James 4:11-12
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

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