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"Best Day Ever" 04.20.16

“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” (James 2:1 ESV)

Today is Tuesday. I woke up this morning at about 4:30 am with a pounding headache to the point of nausea. I took some Tylenol and moved to the couch and fell asleep there for a little while and then re-joined my wife in bed. I woke up late and tired because of my disrupted sleep to discover that our dog had destroyed a piece of plastic of some sort, and had strewed it across the floor of our bedroom. The coffee pot had been off for some time now, and the coffee was lukewarm, and on top of that, my school hadn’t uploaded the syllabus for the next course (whose work is due Monday), and therefore I am unable to do my homework. So I sit in front of my laptop, drinking cold coffee out of a LifeBridge mug, and I think… BEST DAY EVER!

Sunday, Jeff talked about a lie that we try to feed ourselves saying “today is going to be a good day!” – It might be a good day! – but in general a slogan on a coffee cup won’t dictate the way our day will go. In fact great days are few and far between no matter what we do. We try to work harder, be more faithful to God and to friends, and anything else we can to earn some happiness, but it all seems to fall short. Meanwhile, we hear the world talking about the power of positive thinking, and maybe we buy in a little bit, “Maybe if I think positively, it will change my circumstances just a little bit.” But the dog still destroys things, the car still breaks down, your head still hurts with stress, and people still let you down. Then, in walks a young, attractive, laconic (well spoken), intelligent, successful, business person, they have it all going on! Nice car, perfect dog, no stress, perfect smile, and more talents than an Israelite tax collector. This person could be the key to your escape from Poop Island! All you have to do is treat them really well, and they’ll like you, and maybe they will help you be like them! Suddenly and without warning you are in danger of showing partiality. Partiality (or showing an unfair bias) is really an attempt to manipulate God’s creation into serving you, sometimes serving you means doing your dishes, and sometimes serving you means helping you escape the crud of your life.

But what if I told you that God put that "stuff"' in your life for a reason? I believe that this is the key to James chapter 1, and therefore the foundation for James chapter 2. Trials or "stuff" happens, but it in fact happens for a reason – there is a Savior King on his throne in heaven who has already done the most for us and is now committed to do much more than the most - the maturing of our faith and the building of the life of trust we were created for! Of course, we don’t like trials, and we tend to run away from discomfort, but James says; stop trying to manipulate creation to bring comfort to yourselves in trials that have been assigned to you by God. Instead, act in Godly character, treating all people as sinners in need of grace. Don’t ask “How can this person serve me,” but “How can I be Jesus to this person.” Only then will we find joy in the headaches. Strengthened and emboldened by the knowledge of God’s good and perfect gifts, we can find that our days are on a trajectory of greater and greater happiness. Not because we don’t have trials anymore, but because we suffer with a purpose under the care of a loving God.

Have you had the “BEST DAY EVER?” Tell someone about it. Share the gospel with someone or just encourage a friend by telling them about your ridiculous day. Remember there is a purpose to our struggles, and the God who gave them to us is on our side.

Joe Popp

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 ESV)