I’ve been a sales trainer for a few years, and one thing has been consistent. When some people show up for training, they’re not happy. They want to know if class is really going to take the full time. By the end of class though, many of them change their attitudes. They’ll walk out and say, “Thanks. I didn’t think I needed this, but I learned something.” Our attitude towards training is much like our attitude towards troubles in life. We don’t want them or see a need for them. However, when we’ve made it through them, we find ourselves stronger.
I think James was trying to make that same correlation for us in James 1:2-3. He wrote, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (NLT). Joy is usually the last emotion that I pair with troubles and trials, but James says they’re an opportunity for us to have it.
I’ve said before that joy is not dependent on your circumstances, happiness is. Joy comes from deep within. It looks at your big picture, while happiness looks at the little one. Joy is something you choose to have no matter what. Each of us choose our attitude in our circumstances. If we don’t, our circumstances will choose our attitude for us. In most cases, it chooses the wrong attitude. Choosing Joy gives you the strength to endure whatever comes your way.
The second part of that verse is where we get our Joy from. We don’t look at the current trouble, but the end result. What do trials produce in us? Endurance. Verse 4 says, “So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” If you can train yourself to keep the end in mind, you will learn to handle troubles a lot better. Don’t waste your times of trouble. Use them for what they’re for: growth and endurance. By choosing the wrong attitude, you prolong your time in them, and miss what God has for you. Keep the end in mind, and choose Joy.
Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
4 responses to “Choose Joy”
Good day Chris. I love the distinction between joy and happiness in this post; I had never seen it that way before. Choosing Joy in troubles is not easy, but it sure is liberating. God bless you today brother 🙏
Thanks. You’re right. It isn’t easy, but it is how we make it through life’s toughest tests.
Max Luccado wrote, “If you’re going through hard times and are being shaped by God, be thankful. It means He still thinks you’re worth using.” That has always stuck with me. As long as God keeps me on the anvil, and as long as I’m willing to remain there, He can still find ways to use me. It’s when we stop allowing him to shape us that we start to lose our usefulness to His purposes.
Wow! That is an excellent quote, thank you.
It’s from his book called “On the Anvil”. Great book. I think he may have changed the name over the years, but it’s still available.