I was reading in James this week; I like James. Here is a guy who could have just walked around spouting off that he was the half brother of Jesus…”Ya, that’s right Jesus is my bro” could have been James claim to fame. James could have been boastful but instead he taught people to put God’s word into practice, to walk the walk, to show our faith and not to judge others, he was a humble man.
You don’t get far in James before I have to laugh. James 1:2 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds”. Ya, pure Joy, are you kidding me?
I don’t know about you, but finding “Pure Joy” in sexual addiction is not what comes to mind about my journey…but here is James telling me to “Consider it pure joy…when you face trials”. James, have you ever felt deep, deep shame?
In the darkest moments of this addiction, when I was doing things I could have never believed would be a part of my life…in that darkness was pure hell, no joy.
Go a little further and there is more good news James 1:12 says “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
So now I am to consider it pure joy and if i suffer under trial, then even better!
So have any of you been feeling the joy of addiction? How?
When I first came into recovery I was not sure I even liked God, I wondered where He was, I did not like his people and, had I met James who would have told me how great things really were, I might have had to clock him (maybe I should use the word rebuke him, you always have to be careful of family in a fight).
Seriously, what does this mean…I think I have found it and I am interested in hearing from the rest of you about this? Why should we consider it pure joy to be run through the fire?
As I have been writing this blog; as I have lead small groups; as I have begun to find a great church and help them…all because of my story and the trials I have faced, I have begun to see the joy James spoke about.
As I have begun to come out of my shame and have shared the pain of my past…as I have begun to see hope in the eyes of others because of the miracles God has performed in my life…as I have seen marriages saved; I am finding the pure joy which James speaks about. I am using the trials of my past to help others understand that with God, all things are possible. With God you can find the peace and the joy in life.
On these blogs I hear about women who are forgiving their husbands, I hear as you great men of God share your own triumphs and trials and it brings me pure joy. What has sharing your story with others done for you? In John 8:32 it says “…the truth will set you free”, do you feel that way as you share your story? As you bring light into the darkness in your life and in the lives of others do you feel set free?
One last thing I like about James is found in 2:12-13. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment with mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
Think about the last words of this scripture, “Mercy triumphs over judgment!”…many of you have not felt mercy from your spouse or your friends or maybe at work. Many I am sure have not found mercy in the church. But it is true, mercy triumphs over judgment.
I would also say that mercy adds years to your life. Judgment and anger take so much energy, it slowly kills you…just let it go.
So find it pure joy when you are being challenged…it just means satan finds you very important and does not want to see you recover. Find that small group through AA.org, SA.org, SexAA.org, SLAAflw.org, CelebrateRecovery.com or through a church and share your trials…you will find others, you are not alone in this and yes you will find the joy.
Where have you found joy in your trials? Please share it here.
Thanks for being here; you are all Great men of God,