The AMI QT Devotionals from November 19-25 are provided by Jennifer Kim, a staff at Catalyst Agape Church (New Jersey). Jennifer, a graduate of Boston University, spent a year in Shanghai as one-year intern from 2013-14. She is currently attending Alliance Theological Seminary.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Finding Joy in Affliction”
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance .4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
Hiking is one activity I dislike. It requires days of planning, heavy lifting, profuse amount of sweating, bugs, lack of water, etc. I have tried to be understanding by asking countless hikers what makes hiking so enjoyable for them. Nine out of 10 times they will say it’s about the accomplishment of getting to the top of the mountain, seeing the beautiful scenery, and knowing you made it after a long, gruesome process. Now I recognize that my lack of understanding for the world of hiking comes from my inability to reconcile the seeming paradox of how something so arduous can be so enjoyable. I also recognize that this struggle is one that many Christians face when they read today’s passage.
How can any person consider it, not just joy, but PURE joy, when they face trials of, not just one kind, but MANY kinds? The answer is seemingly quite simple for James – by recognizing that trials produce a perseverance that matures our faith to be made complete, lacking absolutely nothing. Wow, a faith that lacks nothing! Imagine with me what a faith that lacks nothing looks like – no doubts, no fears, no bitterness, and no obstacles between you and God. This faith is not fleeting nor is it a momentary revelation, but it changes us completely to begin living in complete trust and faith in our God. As paradoxical as it may seem to be joyful when we are struggling, when we look at it in light of the fruit that trials can produce in our lives, we are able to see that every difficulty is worth the struggle in order that our faith may be made complete.
Ultimately, I may not be able to understand hiking because I cannot see the joy and glory of making it to the top of the mountain; but, I can certainly say that a faith that lacks nothing is worth every battle. If you are going through a difficult time, I pray that you would find peace and rest in your circumstances. I recognize that the call to be joyful in all trials is easier said than done. But can I encourage you to reframe your perspective to see that it is God’s love for you to grow in intimacy with Him that you may be facing trials. You are not alone as God’s hand is in your trials. May your faith be made complete through your circumstances.
Prayer: God I thank You that You love me too much to let me stay the same. I pray that you would grant me wisdom to see You in all circumstances that I may persevere in my trials and find true joy. Refine me oh God that I may be made complete in Your sight. In Jesus name. Amen
Bible Reading for Today: John 20
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Peter 4:12-19: Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
Questions to Consider:
- What does Peter tell his readers to do when they are persecuted?
- Why does Peter say we are blessed when we are face trials?
- What trial are you facing in which you are having difficulty rejoicing in? Write them down and ask God to reveal how He is growing you in those trials.
- To rejoice as participants in the sufferings of Christ. (v.13)
- We are blessed because the Spirit of glory and God rests on us. (v.14)
Today we reflected on God’s call for us to be joyful in trials because it’s in trials that our faith is made complete. Take some time to be honest with God about your struggles. It’s ok to be filled with emotions, even if it is not joy, but bring it to the Lord and ask Him to reveal His plan in perfecting your faith through this trial. Wisdom is being able to recognize that amidst our pains and struggles God has a plan greater than we can imagine.