The Joy of Salvation, no matter what!
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 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. 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. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:1-8 NIV).
Perhaps by perseverance the book of James, a single epistle, made it into the Canon of our Holy Scriptures. While many love this book, others, most notably Martin Luther, would have preferred that it be omitted from the Canon altogether. Considering it pure joy when you face trials is a big ask. Yet, what if we frame this passage in the call and the claim that Jesus puts on our lives? To love God and love our neighbors? What if we further frame this passage in light of John Wesley words:
“First, to do no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind, Secondly: By…doing good of every possible sort and as far as possible to all… Thirdly: By attending upon all the ordinances of God.”
The awe of God’s love and His call never leave me. In this frame, there is no adversity that we cannot attack motivated by the joy of salvation. Regardless of how you feel about the book of James, this passage energizes me to move forward with a hopeful and joyful heart no matter what.
My prayer in hymn today set to the Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.“ (Words: Henry Van Dyke)
Please pray (sing) with me:
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.
Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.
Let us live in the joy of salvation, no matter what.