Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. (James 1:2, MSG)
You may have grown up hearing this verse as “Count it all joy”—yes, that’s the King James Version. Well I’m writing today and not feeling it. I know I am a Christ follower and, after several decades under my belt, should be doing much better at considering tests and challenges a joy worth counting. But today I’m just not there. I don’t want to count it all joy. I’m not seeing this week of challenges as a sheer gift. Seriously? A gift might be winning the lottery or finding a new car in my driveway.
There are days when discipleship can be burdensome. A chore. A list to be checked off. Whether it is focusing in on my personal prayer time or giving some dedicated time to being in God’s Word. Discipleship involves discipline. And the imperatives, the commands, can overwhelm. There are no opt-out clauses when you become a disciple of Jesus. Choosing to follow Him means taking the “following” seriously.
It is convicting at times to be overcome with the day to day and then think of what Jesus was willing to do for our sake—to the point of death. And here I am refusing to count it all joy. And so I pray: Lord, forgive my selfish and petty nature. Bring it on—from all sides—and allow me to show You living in me.
By Publisher Don Pape