Overseer Joshua Goodin
James 1:2-4 (NRSV)
Learn how to deal with the hand that life has dealt you because you cannot dictate what life is going to send your way. Sometimes you don’t like what life has dealt you, but your hand is your hand and what you count on to win losses.
*When you go through some things there’s one thing you can learn how to do. You can learn how to take whatever hand that you’ve got and count it as joy. God will never allow you to go through something that’s not going to allow you to come out on the other side of it with joy. He will not allow you to suffer, endure or go through tribulations if he’s not going to bring you out with joy. Not only will you come out of it with joy, but you can go into it with joy. One of the reasons you struggle with what you go through is that you don’t approach it with the right mindset. God utilizes these things to condition your faith. You may not always agree with the way God chooses to condition your faith. You may be waiting for a door to open, struggling financially, or dealing with health issues.
*The premise of your faith is that you know somebody who when you received bad news before, showed up in your situation and turned what the enemy meant for evil for good. You’ve been through some things that started out bad because you were looking at it the wrong way. As you continue to go through it, and allow God to do what he does best, be God, He turned it around. You have to go through a process that will cause you pain, time, sweat, and sacrifice. God has to allow you to go through a process where you have to change what you put in you, change what you allow to come out of you, and wait until you move through it. You don’t want to go through the process, but anytime God sends you through a process, he never allows you to go through the process alone. You can be happy and joyful because you’re not going through the process alone. God’s got to fix your mindset, go in with joy, start the process with joy, and be happy when you start the process. Be happy because you understand that the joy of the Lord is your strength.
*Trials or distresses of any kind are tests and purify your Christian character. God is trying to see where you stand in your walk with him. That’s why he allows constantly for things to keep coming because you won’t know how strong you are until you’ve been put in a place where you could not rely on your own strength, but you had to rely fully on the strength of God. God keeps allowing you to go through it, because he’s trying to teach you to stop depending on other people to get you through what you’re going through. Every time you go through something you call your prayer partner, your mother, your homie, or your girlfriend to talk through the situation, and they cannot get you out of it. The reason they can’t get you out is that they didn’t put you there. The only one that can get you out is the one that put you in it.
*Choose to respond in joy. The Lord knows where you have to go, and what you’re trying to do, and sometimes the enemy will try to send distractions to hinder you from where you’re trying to go and in the process mess up your morning meditation and joy so you don’t have excitement when you get to the house of the Lord. Every now and again the enemy tries to sneak up and throw darts and daggers your way to steal your joy. No matter what you’re going through still have joy. You may feel like you have a bad hand, but your hand could be worse. Having joy is a choice. Learn how to respond to your tribulations the right way, because God is only using it to test you. The only way the instructor can see what you glean is by giving you a test. Not testing you to see you fail, but to see that everything that they poured into you you’re applying. The only way God can see how strong your faith is, he has to allow something to come up against you. Before God gives it to you, he knows how much you can handle. Stop thinking that your trial or tribulation has taken God by surprise. He’s the instructor, he’s never surprised, and he gives permission to come against you. What God wants is for you to not show up to the test with an attitude of at least you showed up, and that’s not enough anymore. God will not release anything else until you deal with the test he put in front of you. Sometimes you skate around trying to avoid it, but when you get done avoiding it, it’s going to be right where you left it. You’re not going to the next level until you finish here.