Problems show up in our lives from all directions.  You can probably make a list much longer that I can even imagine.  The ill-timed flat tire, the argument with a coworker, the cancer treatment that knocks you for a loop or the unexpected bill that arrives in the mail, are just a few examples of challenges that pop up to steal the otherwise happy attitude you have.

James 1:2 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy”.  Seriously God, you expect me to be happy in all these circumstances?  But look at this verse in context.  The Christians of James’ time were greatly persecuted, experienced injustices from imprisonment to great fear for their lives.  Some fled their homes and lived in poverty, scrounging for tidbits of food.

While acknowledging their conditions, James wanted to give them hope and encouragement.  Joy and optimism could be theirs despite their sufferings, if they intentionally took control of their thoughts and changed their attitudes.  James was inviting them to focus on faith, even though life was tough.

When life is hard, it’s difficult to keep negative thoughts from taking control of your mind, resulting in a bad attitude; an attitude that robs you of joy and contentment.

All you may be able to control, is your response to the situation.  You need to seek God’s help, striving to be optimistic in the darkest of circumstances.  Your attitude is a choice.  How you allow yourself to react is your choice!   Circumstances don’t have power over your attitude, unless you let them.

Your attitude is a window to what’s inside your heart and mind.  The only thing you have to lose by choosing a positive attitude is a negative attitude.  Imagine the impact you will have on everyone around you, when regardless of your circumstances, you display a smile and positive attitude.  People will stand in amazement, wondering how even in difficult situations you are able to reflect the joy and love of Christ.  It may even open up witness opportunities as non-believers notice something different about you!

Your joyful, thankful attitude can be reflected every day.  When you think about all the ways God has blessed you and what he has promised when you arrive in heaven, how can you not make a joyful response?  Bless your family with your positive attitude and an example of cheerful giving.  Church Extension Fund offers a platform called Excel in Giving, that easily and securely allows people to routinely make their gifts to ministry.

Bill Burmeister
Church Extension Fund – Michigan District

Opportunity for Joy