Christian MaturityNew Every Morning | March 8, 2018
THE WORDS joy rejoice as they appear in James and First Peter do not mean what they seem at first glance. The rejoicing we find here is not a shallow, syrupy, or optimistic refusal to admit that problems exist; instead, it is the realistic recognition of struggle bolstered by the decision to rejoice in knowing that God is working to bring us through strife to greater spiritual depth. Yes, it may be tough if not impossible to rejoice when suffering, but such joy will not take the form of emotional jubilance or elation.
James proclaims that suffering may be considered as joy when the encounter produces the spiritual virtue of steadfastness. And steadfastness, when allowed to flower into fullness, produces the most attractive bloom of all qualities: Christian maturity.
Authentic Christian maturity, then, is a steadfastness that we attain not by denial. It is a quality that, like any other kind of maturity, accrues with age, hard work, and a lot of bruising experience. It is the ability to redirect our thoughts beyond immediate woes in order to realize the spiritual growth that results from tests of faith.
– John R. Wimmer
From pages 40-41 of Blessed Endurance: Moving Beyond Despair to Hope by John R. Wimmer. Copyright © 2017 by John R. Wimmer. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
How do you define joy? Share your thoughts.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
Psalm 107:21, NRSV
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This week we remember: John of God (March 8).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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For me, JOY is often visible through the eyes of Christ as seen on the face of one who knows the Lord. One whose kind spirit re-awakens the indwelling Spirit of the Lord within my heart and soul.
Yes. the joy I have in Christ is not the joy I have opening a present, receiving a wonderful surprise, or even seeing a spectacular natural wonder. For me it is the calm steady reassurance that God is with me always and I am safe whatever comes. It is a deep abiding peace. Thank You, Lord.
Today’s reflection came at an unexpected time, it’s after Lenten lunch is over and I am back home. Thankful to open and read this. Prayers for all of you dear UR family I pray that you all have the joy of Christ in your hearts.
Half way through Lent, there are three Thursdays before Good Friday.
The most mature Christian I’ve met is Father Edwin, a wiry, 70-something year old priest who lives and works in the northern part of Sri Lanka. He lived through the long, 2 1/2 decade, bloody civil war, seeing the killings of both every-day citizens and fellow priests. Yet his remarkable face is determined, strong, and calm, with smile lines and a bright light shining from his eyes. There is not a shred of sentimentality or hatred in his demeanor or conversation; rather, he radiates energetic enthusiasm for his mission, a school for adults wanting to improve their business English. I cannot recall ever encountering anyone like him before, a person who has seen so much and yet carries on with such a passion in his service to God. Now in the very recent news, there are reports of ethnic violence and vandalism breaking out again in pockets of Sri Lanka, and a concern that it could escalate. May God bless and protect Father Edwin.
With prayers for all.
Blessings and prayers for all the UR faithful family
Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth.
Martin H. Fischer
Nehemiah 8 vs 10:
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!”
Yes…the joy of the Lord is my strength….blessing to my UR family all night long.