James instructs us to “count it all joy!” (James 1:3)
Jesus told his followers: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33, NLT).”
The world may feel like it’s falling apart, but maybe it’s really just falling into place.
Today begins Encouraging Word Wednesdays. I recently threw it out on the Facebook universe to all my friends to give me an encouraging word that began with the first letter of their first name. I learned several things, the most obvious one: I have a lot of friends whose names begin with the letter J.
Today we begin with JOY!
Several years ago, I was working on a Spiritual Gifts Inventory, and I was challenged to ask others what they perceived my gifts to be. One very wise friend, shared that while it doesn’t typically appear as a traditional gift, she believed I have the gift of joy. To my surprise, others confirmed her assessment.
I found this quite humbling…and challenging.
I believe I am wired to find the positive in situations and people. Because of this I have been labeled naive and a Pollyanna. To my consistent surprise, my ability to find the best causes frustration and consternation in many who can’t. My husband often questions why I always go “there.” I can’t not.
Lately, I’ve been looking up the meanings of words before I use them. I want to be sure I’m using them correctly. So, I looked up joy, and then I looked up rejoice. They define one another.
In the Bible Dictionary I found this: “Believers rejoice (are full of joy) because God has surrounded them with his steadfast love (see Psalm 32:10-11).”
James, quoted in the meme above, paints a beautiful and challenging picture of joy. “Count it all joy” can be better understood as the choice to accept everything that comes our way as an opportunity for growth and good. And “ALL” of it is reason for joy—to rejoice—because wherever we find ourselves we also find the steadfast, never-ending, never-failing love of God.
Find JOY today.