James – Dealing with sin
Who are we when things DON”T go as planned? Who are we and how do we react when the unexpected happens that devastates our hearts, minds and even our souls. What is our first reaction? Be honest. James tells us that the level of our maturity of faith, love, and grace is truly measured when we are pressed to the limit, under extreme pressure, like a balloon enlarged to it’s limits and about to burst. What happens when the balloon bursts? Who are we when we are perplexed by life stuff? AND what do we do?
What we do reflects readily what we believe.
Do we consider it a lovely gift when we are tested and challenged in this way? Do we look for loopholes and the best way out of our troubles? Do we fall back on our humanness to “flight or fight” as psychologists describe us? OR fall to our knees and ask God for help. “Where does our help come from”, the Psalmist cries out and then answers himself with, “our help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.”
Troubles come but our first reaction should be prayer to God FIRST for help, seeking His wisdom, accepting His way of maturing us to be all HE wants us to be. We need to accept these growing pains as gifts from God for He is never closer to
us then when we are going though pain and suffering in His Name and for His Kingdom.
“Pray to the Father, he LOVES to help.” Wow. Just ponder that alone for awhile. Take all the time you need.
Ask God boldly, believing, without a second thought of any other option! There is NO ONE like our God!
Be loyally in love with God for this is the greatest sign of growing maturity in His ways. “Anyone who meets a testing challenge head on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life!”
It IS a gift! May all that we think, do or say, under pressure or not, be in Jesus Name!
James 1, The Message
Faith Under Pressure
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
9-11 When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
13-15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.
Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.
Dear Heavenly Father,
May all we think about is how to please you with our actions and reactions to life stuff. When the unexpected, unpleasant happens, help us to fall on our knees first, then rise to the occasion with your love, wisdom, mercy and grace guiding us as we grow through it. Thank you for staying close to us in all kinds of circumstances and situations. Thank you for the gift of growing up through the tests and challenges of life. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen