If you read "Count It All Joy?" Part One, you will want to read this. In the last blog I wrote about what it means to count and to consider something all joy based on James 1. Secondly, I shared about how we must know certain things to even be able to count something as joyful, especially through trying and testing times in our lives.
James 1:3 states that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. This is what we need to know. If I do not know that the test will produce something good then I will have no hope or motivation to move forward. Each time I go through a trial and allow it to do the work of strengthening me, then I know that when the next obstacle comes, I am empowered to push through and endure. Verse 4 says that perseverance must finish its work that we may be mature and complete. God's heart is that we grow to maturity and to wholeness in Him. This is the demonstration and evidence of God's heart and best for our lives. It is the manifestation of His embrace and kiss upon our fragile hearts.
Sometimes it seems that when we are going through troubling seasons of our lives that God is distant. What we need to know is that He is closer than ever and that His affections are in operation toward us in a special way. Psalm 131 basically expresses,
LORD, MY HEART IS NOT HAUGHTY
NOR MY EYES LOFTY
NEITHER DO I CONCERN MYSELF WITH GREAT MATTERS
NOR WITH THINGS TOO PROFOUND FOR ME
SURELY I HAVE CALMED AND QUIETED MY SOUL
LIKE A WEANED CHILD WITH HIS MOTHER
LIKE A WEANED CHILD IS MY SOUL WITHIN ME
O ISRAEL,HOPE IN THE LORD
FROM THIS TIME FORTH AND FOREVER.
This Psalm uses the example of a weaned child to show a perfect picture of maturity. In our human mind we define maturity in a way that exemplifies independence and self sufficiency. However, God likens maturity to a weaned child. This child is usually one or two years old. He or she is walking and getting into a lot of things...many times making numerous messes. However this child learns many things through the messes he makes. Furthermore, when the child becomes weary, fearful or hurt, he rushes straight back to the place where he once was nursed...in his mother's lap.
Maturity is dependence. This child no longer needs his mother milk. He is eating solids. However, he always goes to the place he feels nurtured; the place where he knows true love. The child goes to that safe place and he sits without questions. A little child in his mother's lap is content and does not need to know anymore than that his mommy is simply there. He does not need to know about tomorrow or what is next. There is peace and contentment.
Likewise, when we are facing pressures too tough to bear at times, we need to picture ourselves as this little toddler. Psalm 46:10 says "Be still and know I am God." "Be Still" in Hebrew text means to let go. Letting go and allowing God to hold us, embrace us and love us is the mark of maturity. It is all about the art of falling into His arms. I so want to learn to be better at sitting in His lap and leaning against chest. When I learn to do this, I can be assured that when He gets up to go somewhere I am in His arms and I am moving with Him. Oh the thought of this truth and the joy of this reality. May we take hold of Him and never let go.
I have more to say about this thing called joy. Check back because I am going to share about what a life of ease produces and what a life of submission produces. There is a lot to be said about this...so stayed tuned in. Peace.