Rolling with the Punches James 1:2-4

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Inspiration By New Creation Ministry — By J.C. Riley

Professional fighters are familiar with the idiomatic phrase ‘roll with the punches’. It means to maneuver one’s body away from a blow to lessen the force of impact and to adapt to setbacks, difficulties and adversity. There are many times in life when we have to roll with the punches of day-to-day living. In the book of James, we are given wise counsel regarding responding to the blows of life.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2 NLT

“My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble.” James 1:2 Contemporary English Version

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 AMP

There is a mentality that the student of Jesus has that in regard to life’s difficulties. Instead of reacting to them as disturbances, we are empowered to see the blessing that awaits us on the other side of going through them. We see the defects of character that are being developed and the faith that is being strengthened. In other words, challenges are the opportunities we need to grow in Godly character.

During the days of the apostles, persecution was a reality beyond what is understood by many of us living today. According to Evidenceunseen.com:

“A picture of trials and persecution in the days of the apostles: ‘Many Christians were even cru-cified. Some were sewn up in the skins of wild beasts; then big dogs were let loose upon them, and they were torn to pieces. Women were tied to mad bulls and dragged to death. After night-fall Christians were burned at the stake in Nero’s Garden. The Roman people who hated the Christians were free to come into the garden, and Nero drove around in his chariot enjoying the horrible spectacle to the full.”

Imagine counting it joy while experiencing living in such a hostile environment. Such a mindset is a gift from God. Continuing from the above reference, below is some insight into the out-come of such suffering:

“Rather than destroying the burgeoning Christian movement, the persecution tended to spread the faith. This state-run persecution of Christians was so gruesome that public opinion was merciful toward the tortured Christians. Several examples of valiant and brave martyrs only roused public opinion on the side of Christ.”

Could it be, that how we go through hardships is also a witnessing tool for Christ?

According to Romans 8:28:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” NLT

“And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” Berean Study Bible

There was a woman who had an expensive handkerchief which had been gifted to her. Not only was it lovely to look at, but it was also unique in its design as well. While riding a train across country she accidentally spilled some ink on her prized possession. She was crushed. As she cried over the handkerchief a nearby passenger approached her and asked if he could take it from her. Little did she know he was a fabric master who specialized in designing cloths like the one she possessed. Within a few hours the handkerchief was returned to the woman with an appearance that seemed as though the ink stain was a part of the original design.

We can go through the ups and downs of life when we entrust ourselves to the One who is able to create beauty out of our ashes. Our joy is not in the experience but in the product being produced. We are the gold being tried in the fire and His reputation is on trial. Let it be demonstrated through us that the living God can deliver, sustain and restore. As others question the source of our hope and joy despite our difficulties may it be known that God lives to take away the sin of the world.

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