Verse 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
Joy. Pure joy. The very fact that this is pure should help us realize that this isn’t merely happiness. Happiness is based on circumstances and situations and therefore cannot be pure as it is based on mere human emotion. This isn’t to say that happiness doesn’t have its place in our lives but we can’t base our view of life on happiness.
So what is the difference between happiness and joy? We have already discussed the circumstantial nature of happiness. Happiness doesn’t come upon us when the tough times in life come. We don’t get all excited because a loved one gets cancer or we lose our job. No, things like that bring us anxiety, fear, and even pain. These are not things we look forward to. We like to feel happy. And we like it when those around us are happy because it makes it easier for us to be happy.
Joy is different. Joy is a deep, peaceful, flowing, life-like sense of bubbling in us. It isn’t based on what is going on in our lives but what is going on in our hearts. It is a divine delight. Joy helps us remember that God is in complete control and that nothing can happen in our lives that He isn’t aware of.
When things are not going as we have planned or how we wanted them to, it is so easy to let our human emotions to take over but James is telling us to not give in to the human nature. He tells us that we are to consider it pure joy, in other words we are to choose to not let our emotions overshadow the events.
Choosing joy is one way we choose show that we are choosing God. It shows that our trust is in Him rather than in our own capabilities. We all know how easy it is to think we have to be the ones to fix and manage whatever it is that we are going through but James is reminding us that we have a God that is more able than any of us ever could be.
Choosing joy is one of the first steps in maturing. It is us taking that step to put His ways over our ways and His timing above our own. The level of our ability to choose joy reveals the level of our trust in God.
Making It Personal
When have you failed to choose joy? What is the result of not choosing joy? Have you been able to choose joy in the midst of your trials?
Making It Personal Kids
Is it hard to find joy in the hard times? What does it mean to trust in Jesus? Do you trust Him enough to choose joy?
Father, thank You for teaching us that there is joy in choosing to trust You. Give us the wisdom to know the difference of happiness and joy. In Jesus’ name, amen.