My dear friends, as you know if you have been following along, our lives have been inundated with trials lately. I come to you with peace in my heart this morning. God moves in the most mysterious ways. I’d like to walk through James chapter 1 with you this morning….
Trials and Temptations
Most of you have probably become very familiar with the words of James: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:2-4 NIV
Trials in life are the norm sisters, it shouldn’t surprise us when they come…and yet I know I sometimes find myself confused and annoyed that ‘life is complicated’. I have to quickly remind myself that
It is during the troubled times that I have a choice to become more like the world or more like Jesus
We have to make that choice during each and every trial and temptation, even the seemingly small frustrations and annoyances.
I want to be mature and complete and I believe God when he says that comes through trials
It is an issue of the heart when I curse the many trials that come. Embracing them as God’s gift to help me become the woman he created me to be allows me to move through the trials with grace and humility.
Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger
The order in which these three directives are presented should be of importance to us. “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” James 1:19. If we are to move through our trials with grace and humility we must be able to put these 3 into practice.
If we are quick to listen often times the other 2 simply fall into place. Hence putting it first on the list….just think if we were told to be slow to anger first without being reminded to listen. God is good in His promise to help us gain wisdom!
So often when we are entrenched in a trial we are quick to curse, slow to understand, and slow to learn. This is the world’s way of dealing with less than desirable circumstances, not God’s.
Do not conform sisters!
The very next verse gives us good explanation for why this command is so vital to our well being…’For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires’ James 1:20.
God DESIRES us to have a righteous life rooted in HIM
Tell me if we are not always looking for simple quotes and mantras to get us through our days…quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger….simple enough?!
As we mature, we must do
‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says’ James 1:22
Do what it says! We must take action!
We have the choice to stand in the midst of our trials and let our feet become like cement….or we can move! And not move OUT of our trials, move THROUGH our trials. Remember that we must let perseverance have its full effect, so we have to DO what God asks of us.
Don’t just be a hearer of God’s calling…take steps toward Him
He will be true to you. He will guide you…if you let Him. He will lay out your path before you. But he will not move your feet. He gives us free will so that our choice to trust and DO is rooted in love and not in selfish motivation.
‘But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does’ James 1:25.
Loving guidance followed by a sinecere promise.
But there are action words in there. We cannot stand still and we certainly cannot let the ways of the world invade our hearts. We must believe that when we step out in faith and smile through our trials He will bless us richly, if not here then when we take our place in eternity!
What is it that the trials you are currently going through are calling you to? Are you listening? How are you moving??