Grab your Bible kids, it’s time to get your reading on! Before you start reading this post, read James 1:2-18. It’s some good stuff. I’ll wait. 🙂
Alright, let’s dive into this. James starts off with a comment that I don’t know if I understand to this day. He tells us, the church, to “consider it pure joy” when we face any sort of trouble because when we are facing trials our faith is being tested. Now here is where it gets good. When our faith is tested, we develop perseverance. And it doesn’t stop there. No, that perseverance has to be completed, meaning we have to walk this trial out. We can not quit in the midst of this struggle. If we are wanting God’s fullness, God’s face, if we are wanting to truly call ourselves Christ followers, then we have got to cling on to our Jesus and know that at the end of this trial, we are more mature and more complete than before we got started.
Now here is where I find the joy in this. Yes, I am wanting to follow Jesus with my whole heart, but it gets tough. It gets tough when the doctor’s tests come back and it’s not the results you were hoping for. It gets tough when the job you have been praying for goes to someone less qualified. It gets tough when the marriage you have been trying to revive continues to fall apart around you. It gets tough when the healing you have been seeking whether spiritual, physical, or emotional just isn’t coming. Yes, it gets tough. It gets so tough you want to quit this race and try to amend it on your own. You start seeking your own medicines. You start seeking your own solace. You find another god to meet your needs. You find another way.
Let me tell you friends, that it is all worthless! Those other paths will lead you to death and destruction. Do not cave into the devil’s lies that there is a better way to solve this problem. Do not cower and try to stop what God has begun in your life. It is going to get hard! DON’T GIVE UP! Run that race until you reach the finish line even if you are the last one! You don’t like what the doctor said, well remember GOD IS THE GREAT PHYSICIAN! He can heal, He does heal, and He will heal! Just be expecting it! Don’t like the fact that your “dream” job went to someone else? Seek God! He might have another dream for you to follow that will bless you in so many ways you can’t stand it! Your marriage is falling apart? Jesus is still in the business of miracles! How can that be? You start seeking God on a moment by moment basis. You start covering your marriage in prayer and you continue to love your spouse the way that God has called you to love. It might be months it might be years, but you do what God has called you to do and He will sustain you through it all. And when you want to quit, you remember that God never quit on you. He is our first love and how many times have we turned our backs on Him and HE NEVER GAVE UP! No when it gets darker, He shines brighter!
And when you are clinging to all these medicines because you can’t be happy. You have lost your joy, in the midst of this, God is still there. I am no doctor and by no means am I telling you that you should quit your antidepressants or anti-anxiety, but I will say this, God is bigger than your fears. God is bigger than your worries. He is so big, that He can handle your smallest fear, your smallest worry. Instead of leaning on the things of this world, God is inviting us to lean on Him.
Consider it joy, because when He has brought you through this trial, this battle, and when you have won because of who Christ is, you will be stronger in your faith. You can look your fear in the eye and let it know who your God is. And the next time you face a trial, you can look back on this one and remember where God has brought you from.
Easier said than done? What does this tangibly look like? How do I even go about my day with this trial hanging over my head? Well, you need wisdom. Wisdom on how to handle this and how to fight it. James continues to tell us that if we lack in this area, we should ask God who gives “generously”. But here is where we fall. In verse 6, James warns us to not be double-minded. See, sometimes we ask our Heavenly Father for things and they do not come to pass. There are several reasons for this that we will get into as we journey through James, but right now this reason is doubt. We do not truly know who God is so we don’t fully believe that He loves us enough to want to provide for us. It all comes down to do we trust Him? Do you trust the God you say you serve? This is where the rubber meets the road.
We can give lip service to God all day long and the moment we are put to the test it is either put up or shut up. When your faith is being tested, yes consider it joy because you get the chance to see God work! You get the opportunity to see what our Mighty God can and will do. “Ask and ye shall receive!” Brothers and sisters, I am asking you today have you been double-minded in your prayers? Have you been double-minded in your faith? Repent and turn away from such things, because God has promised to draw close to us when we draw close to Him. We have no faith because we don’t truly know who God is. We know about Him, but we don’t know Him.
Before James closes this section out, he gives us a reality check. One thing about God: He does not tempt us. You want to know God more? Know that He will not tempt you! No, we are tempted “by our own evil desire.” And when we fall into those temptations, those thoughts that God won’t save me from this problem. Or the temptation that you can do this on your own. Or the temptation to believe that God doesn’t care. You better watch out because those temptation will lead to death. Don’t believe me? Look at the word: James 1:15. You fall into temptation you might as well kiss those dreams goodbye. You might as well surrender to living in this hole of life. You fall into the devil’s lies you will lose.
But God, He doesn’t lie. He doesn’t tempt. He doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The Christ who died on the cross thousands of years ago for the sin you will commit after reading this, yeah, He is the same Jesus who will still be here waiting for you to come to your senses and remember that He is Lord. But most of all, He is loving and patient. Finally, James reminds us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” God can be seen in a lot of different ways, but one of the ways that I can’t help but to view Him is as my heavenly Father. And I as a mother can’t help but to see God clearer. I look at my children and I want to give them everything good I possibly can: a good home, a good education, a good future. But My God is bigger than me. And if I who am evil know how to give good gifts, how much more does my Heavenly Father who is pure and holy know how to give good gifts? Every good and perfect thing is from Him, not from your own pursuits or for you to brag about what you did. No, everything good in your life is from Him.
I realize that some of you do not have a good or pure view of what a Father is supposed to be. Let me lovingly tell you that our Heavenly Father is nothing like the man who distorted your perception. Our Heavenly Father will pick you up when you’ve fallen. He will set you back on the path you should be. He will lovingly correct you when you are wrong and offer forgiveness in abundance. And I believe with all my being that when we seek God earnestly, He will reveal himself as our Father. He will heal those misconceptions and reservations about Him.
We serve the Holy and Perfect God. So if you are going through a trial, don’t quit. Even if it is a moment by moment calling on the Lord to be your strength, He’s there. And if you have been delivered through a trial, praise God! Enjoy your time on the mountain top with Him. Share what God has done! I encourage you to share your prayers and praise on here. I will be praying and rejoicing with you. And this sharing can help minister to others. You never know if someone else is in a similar boat and could use a friend.
I thank you for your powerful word that never returns void. I thank you that you know the needs we have before we ever speak them, but I know it’s an act of trust and faith that we voice our fears to you. Thank you for caring about those fears and worries. Holy Spirit I pray that you give us your comfort and peace during our trials. Help us to have the strength to seek you moment by moment. And we thank you for the freedom that comes in You and through You!
Have a great week y’all!!!