Monday, January 16, 2017

James: The cause of Joy

I love James. I wasn't sure of that for a while, but now, I know I do.

Yesterday, I had a first. I began studying the James study I have just written. As a participant. It didn't seem odd, because the first day's assignment was to read through the book of James. It spoke to me again. 

Today's focus verse is James 1:2. "Count it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials." 

I found something in my study that I didn't include in my writing. JOY. Thayer's Greek Lexicon clarifies the Greek word chara. In this verse, it means more than joy or delight. It means "the cause or occasion of joy."(1)  

It's not intuitive, that's for sure. When we encounter various trials (piercings that allow all the not-like-Jesus parts of us to ooze out during the trial), we are to consider it cause for rejoicing.

Just recently, the automatic waterer for my horses' water trough broke (or wore out). When the horses drank the water out, the trough rolled down the hill and the hose connected to the automatic waterer began to pour water onto the ground. I was out of town, and returned to find my pasture well-watered. (AKA flooded) 

I arrived just in time to unload my suitcase and get ready to leave again for Wed. night Bible study. Dealing with a farm crisis was not on my schedule. My first response to the water situation was not exactly joy, but James 1:2 was fresh in my mind. 

Here's what letting a trial be an occasion for joy looks like...

 I started with prayer. "Lord, I don't want to be late. I'm supposed to meet a visitor at church. I need you to help me deal with this." He did. "I need you to show me something positive about this." He did.

Turning something negative into something positive, at least for me, begins in a conversation with God. It's the right place to start.

I retrieved the barrel-turned-water-trough from the pasture, where it had rolled. Water was pouring out of the wide-open hose, so I washed the trough out. All the dead leaves that accumulated came out in a flash, and somehow I managed not to get wet. Two blessings right there.

My farm hand was already home, but returned just in time to help me turn off the water. The faucet is faulty, and we've taken this occasion to repair it. Two more good blessings.

He turned the water off and stopped the flooding. Another blessing. The pasture was well watered. Blessing #6. 

Right away, I had more blessings than I could imagine from something that seemed like a trial at the start.

When we encounter a trial, we can whine like an infidel or look for joy in the midst of it. If we're to live as disciples of Christ, we'll do what James says. Look for the cause of joy and celebrate it.

Scripture promises that, if we seek, we will find, so let's seek joy.

Today, let's look for the chara (occasions for joy) in every situation we encounter and watch God turn our trials into wonderful blessings. 
(1) Thayer's Greek Lexicon Accessed 1/16/17
If you'd like to participate in the James study, here's how: More than Enough: Living a Life Worth Living
If you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Trials, Endurance, and the James Bible Study
If you'd like to help support this ministry, here's the link to give: Global Outreach Acct 4841 If you'd rather use a check or money order, make it out to Global Outreach. Remember to put "Account 4841" on the "for" line. Mail it to: Global OutreachPO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802
#studyJames #Biblestudy #joy