Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. (ESV)
Many Christians have a really hard time with the idea that we are very different from the world. We don't like to be the oddballs. We also do not like people to think that we are judging them because they are not like us. The reality is this: We are very different. Paul told the church at Corinth that if anyone is in Christ Jesus he is a brand new creation. The old is gone. The new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We need to embrace how we are different, not shy away from it. The world needs to see that as believers in Jesus Christ we set a standard of behavior that glorifies God, and not behavior that elevates self. James talks about times of suffering and times of joy. He lays out a behavior for the believer in Jesus Christ in both of these situations.
If you are suffering you should pray. If you are cheerful you should sing praise. This is the standard for all Christians in these situations. Think for a moment how someone in the world wold react in these situations. If a person does not know Christ they are likely to grumble, or even murmur against God, blaming him for their suffering. If they are cheerful, they are likely to be proud of themselves or their situation. They may also celebrate in drunkenness or excess.
All people go through times of suffering and joy. For Christians every situation we face is an opportunity to display to the world the glory of our wonderful God. Prayer recognizes God's sovereign role in our lives. Praise stirs our hearts to declare the wonders of our wonderful Savior. It is these reactions that can show the world that we are different, because of Christ!
Be different. The world may grumble during suffering. They may gloat during times of joy. Set your mind on things above. Pray when suffering. Sing praise to God when you are joyful.
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