Thursday, November 19, 2009

James 1

Sometimes you read something really awesome and you just feel like you need to write about it.

Having just finished Psalms (it took me over 5 months!), I decided I need to read a shorter book, and I usually alternate OT-NT so I decided I'd read James and maybe go into I & II Peter and possible the Johns since they're little. I forgot how the little books seem to pack a punch and condense a lot of teaching into a little space! Anyways James 1 is awesome, read it sometime. Here's some things that jumped out at me.

Verse 2: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..." At first I was like, "why wouldn't you consider it joy when you face all kinds of trials. Then, I got to thinking and realized that some trials don't come from God to test and strengthen our faith. Some trials come to us from our own doing, because we have sinned. Obviously, you wouldn't consider the fact that you had to go through those trials joy. But the verses go on to say that trials test your faith, developing perseverance to make us mature. I do believe that even trials that come as a result of our sin can be used to develop perseverance and maturity.

OK, that thought was a little elementary, but trust me, I get a lot deeper from here on out. ;)

A few verses down from that, in verses 6-8, it talks about asking God and not doubting God will answer him. It's talking about when you're asking for wisdom, but I think this applies to asking God for anything. You have to believe and not doubt. It says "he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind" and it calls that man a "double-minded man, unstable in all he does." So many times, we ask God for direction, or to provide something for us, whether it be a material need or a spiritual trait, but don't trust God completely to come through. In the back of our mind, we come up with a contingency plan in case God doesn't hold up his end of the bargain. This especially speaks to me right now, because I'm in the middle of a serious soul search with God, for answers to some questions. But I'm constantly arguing with myself and struggling to understand exactly how God will answer these questions. So, the flesh in me says to have a plan B, in case I don't get my answers by X time. I must trust God completely, and so, put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. That's what real faith and trust is.

In a similar note, it mentions a few times in James 1 about "being deceived," and "deceiving yourselves." Again, this scares me in light of what I'm seeking God for right now. I desperately want to make sure that my answers come from God, not myself or another source. But how can you really tell that it's from God? So many people I know have done things that, to me, scream "No!!" but said "God was leading them" to do it. Now, I can't say for sure God wasn't, I can only go on what I know of God and what I think He would think of such things, but a few of the things I have seen end badly and I'm pretty sure God wasn't really leading them to it. So how do you know when you're hearing from God or when you're deceiving yourself? Deceiving yourself is a scary, scary thought. How do you avoid deceiving yourself? That should be the one person you can trust! I guess the key lies in seeking counsel and really trusting that God's going to give you your answers through them.

I was talking with a dear friend the other day and we were exasperated that "God doesn't work in neon." He's not going to lay it all out for you (well, at least, He's not likely to). He's going to require a little faith and trust. But we have to trust that He will guide us if we seek Him wholly and completely.

So that's what I'm trying to do. Your prayers are welcomed.

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