You know, don’t you? You do realize and believe me when I say:
These words minister to my heart daily.
So, when someone tells me last week- “You should go back to the bible study you did over James and practice what you preach.” (ha! no, it wasn’t my husband.)
If you think for one second I have it all together you must thing again. We all struggle through this life simply waiting to dance sweetly with Jesus. The beauty of this life is:
Deciding to dance today. While we wait, we rejoice! While we wait, we grow. While we wait, we struggle through what it means to truly be a disciple of the only one who is perfect.
Monday: Read James Chapter 4 vs 1-18
Tuesday: Read James Chapter 4 vs 1-18 again
Let’s focus on verses 1-3
“You want something you do not have, so you kill. You want something but cannot get it, so you fight for it. You do not get things because you do not ask for them. Or if you do ask, you do not receive because your reasons for asking are wrong. You want these things only to please yourselves.”
As we dig deeper into James, I struggle on how to “bring out the text” I mean, I don’t really know what to say outside of what James says. It’s pretty plain and simple, there.
I do know I think of this verse often, especially the You do not get things because you do not ask for them. Often times, I struggle with asking for things. I think God doesn’t want to give those things to me because they are either “worthless”, “petty”, or maybe even “worldly”.
It’s true. I don’t necessarily know if God cares about a new TV I want or a better looking car. I’m not sure he cares If I can take a vacation, visit special places, or even have the fancy house I want. When I get into places of doubt like that– I examine the character of God.
He is my father.
His word says, he will give me the desires of my heart, yes. Although, are my desires good and pure desires? Or are they greedy and ill motive desires? Maybe it all comes back to the heart of the issue.
Take two of my girls for example, they are so very different. One would take a candy bar we gave her and be thankful. She would nibble on it here and there, save it well. She would hide it away and forget about it, really. Nobody would ever know she had it so she’d never have to share. She’d like it that way. She wouldn’t gobble it all down at once, and she SURE wouldn’t ask for another one. She would be most thankful. However, the other daughter, she would eat it as quickly as she could and ask for another. She would never save it, it would drive her crazy having an uneaten portion of candy within her grasp–chances are, she will even ask for a soda to wash it down. BUT this daughter would share.
Remember James says, Or if you do ask, you do not receive because your reasons for asking are wrong. You want these things only to please yourselves.”
Perhaps its more about who we are, what we’ll do, and how our character matches up with the character of God that determines how God gives us good gifts? I wonder which one God would have chosen to give the candy to. My saver or my sharer.
Today: Examine yourself, your motives. Pray God would reveal his character to you, showing you who he is and how you can strive to be more of his character. Many times, I think I’m doing just fine and then God brings me back to 1 Samuel.
“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Wednesday: Read chapter 4 again.
Let’s focus on vs. 4-10
“You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”
Something I have been convicted of strongly lately. When was the last time I was broken. When was the last time I just broke down, humbled myself, quit trying to be so strong and fell at the feet of Jesus? —what? He’ll lift me up in honor?
Oh, the sweet, sweet ways of Jesus.
Thursday: Read Chapter 4 again.
Let’s focus on vs. 11-12
“Christian brothers, do not talk against anyone or speak bad things about each other. If a person says bad things about his brother, he is speaking against him. And he will be speaking against God’s Law. If you say the Law is wrong, and do not obey it, you are saying you are better than the Law. Only God can say what is right or wrong. He made the Law. He can save or put to death. How can we say if our brother is right or wrong? “
Ahhh, there goes nice ‘ol James again. Giving it to us straight. Remember week two: the gossip journal? Have a problem with another brother or sister in Christ? Take it to the brother or sister. Doesn’t fix it? Pour your heart out to God about it. Make it your focus until the issue is resolved. By focus I mean, don’t stop praying, seeking, and humbling yourself before the King before you have a resolution to the situation. Remember David and King Solomon. Sheesh!
Friday: Last day, read it again! Come on, you can do it!
“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans and all such boasting is evil.
Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”
Can I just say? Five years ago my husband was in a full time youth ministry we lived a happy little life. We had a steady paycheck, did normal church things. Our home was always full of students and parents. Behind the scenes we struggled daily with being so comfortable. Each day we prayed over and over again for God to stretch us. Wouldn’t you know? Within a year we were plucked up and moved to the town we prayed we’d never return to. Now, we are so blessed to live in that town and use our home as a non-profit café a place for community and outreach along with a clothing closet. People come here to volunteer. We have increased our home size to eleven having a new family move in just yesterday. We walk hard and joyful roads with friends. Friends who show us what Jesus looks like, daily.
Here’s the deal. You never know what tomorrow might bring friends, love big today.
Challenged right there along side you.