As we look in Matthew chapter 5, the Lord began his famous Sermon on the Mount with a series of verses that have come to be known as the Beatitudes.
Our focus today is on BEING Before DOING.
Verse 6 in Matthew 5, is planted squarely in the middle of this section. All of the beatitudes coming before it, point to it. And all of the ones following it, come out of it.
It's important to understand the point Jesus is making here. These are the big “Be” attitudes and not the Do” attitudes. Being comes before doing, because what we do is always determined by who we are.
In the last couple weeks we’ve looked at how stress in our lives is both Predictable and Problematic for us.
Today, I want to consider the other three factors of stress: Stress is also Paradoxical, Purposeful, and Profitable.
As we’ve discussed previously, it really goes against our nature to consider trials and joy having some sort of connection. In fact, we usually and completely disassociate the two. James’s admonition seems diametrically opposed to the way we tend to look at life’s challenges and difficulties.
Trials—and the stress they bring—are predictable: all of us will encounter them. But stress from trials can also be problematic, in fact, it can be one of your worst enemies. It has ruined many lives and relationships. Stress hurts.
James directs us to consider, various, or many kinds of trials, to be—pure joy.
Stress! Perhaps no other word is used as much to describe the culprit, the scapegoat, the excuses of modern man. Many of the problems in our lives and with our health seem to relate to this stress factor.
James is writing to those Christians who have been scattered abroad because of persecution that began in Jerusalem and they know stress!