God’s Gym – Part VII
A Mental Habit
Scripture Reading: James 1:2-4
Key Verse: James 1:4
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
At the conclusion of the first week of this devotional, a question popped up in my mind: how do we know when our “endurance is fully developed”?
According to our Scripture Reading for this week, it starts when we consider our troubles as opportunities rather than punishment from God.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. (James 1:2)
I am glad it does not say “when troubles come your way, feel happy about it”. Once again, understand the difference between spiritual joy and emotional happiness.
When we feel happy, we experience one of the emotions that God gave us. However, the joy that the Bible speaks so often about is NOT an emotion. It is a deep confidence that we are safe in God’s hand and that all things work out for our good.
We might change the wording that James uses to this: “Dear Christ-followers, when troubles come your way, don’t think of it as a terrible thing and don’t demand that God gets it out of your life”.
Recognize that before Christ, we considered troubles as something to get rid of as soon as possible. After we have Christ in our hearts and God’s promises at our fingertips, we can start to change our mental habits of how to think about our problems. This takes practice, just like changing any habit does.
You may be thinking that this is idealism but know that God does not allow anything to come into our lives that we cannot manage. And know that God always, not sometimes, but always turns our troubles into blessings! Then, surely, we can see how possible it is to live out this challenge that James gives us.
If you are dealing with troubles, start practicing this principle. I do that by quoting God’s promises that come to my mind. If you are ready to change your mental habits to the way God wants you to see your troubles, join me in this prayer:
Father, You know the troubles that have come upon me. You have already made plans to use them to build my endurance. As my endurance grows, I know You are accomplishing Your goal of making me perfect and complete. I wait patiently until I can see the blessing that You are turning my troubles into. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.