Thursday, March 14, 2013

Some People Tell You What You Want to Hear. James Tells You What You Need to Hear by Linda Maynard

Can you remember being in school and having a demanding teacher? One that didn’t take any nonsense and expected the best from you?

At the time, you may have been frustrated and even a little angry BUT, when you look back, they probably are on your list of favorite teachers.

Why? Because, by “pushing you”, beyond what you thought you were capable of, it brought results that you didn’t expect.

However, if all they did was demand from you, that would border on abusive. With certain character traits, this teacher had integrity and modeled speaking the Truth in Love... And that my friend makes all the difference. They earned your respect.

That is how I view the author of the Book of James
Many years ago, a friend told me that this was her favorite book of the Bible. Why did I then feel, that when I read it, I kept saying “ Ouch!”...That hurts!”...”Owie!” …” That’s me!”…”That’s not me!”…”You’ve got to be kidding”?

At the very beginning, the book says, “Count it all joy, when you face trials of many kinds…” James 1:2
“ STOP RIGHT THERE!” That’s crazy I thought (sorry I am being honest). I didn’t read the complete thought, but eventually came to realize that this wasn’t “Let’s throw a party with Happy Feet”, but that the Lord’s intention is help us build spiritual muscles.

The writer in 1:5-8, talks about asking God for wisdom. THEN after hearing that wisdom, applying it to our lives. Again, my eyes skipped over too quickly and all I focused on was a person who doubts. James describes them like one tossed in the sea, blown here and there. And that person is double minded. In this particular area, I had to “work out” this truth, with a lot of effort.

My thinking can get scattered. It has been an ongoing struggle. In the past, I had prayed, asked for wisdom and got wisdom. I don’t feel I doubt God, having the wisdom and wanting to impart it to me. My struggle seems to stem with wondering if I discerned correctly. The consequence is the same…I am tossed all around and not at peace.  

The enemy can tempt us in a bunch of ways. He tries to keep us from obeying God and/or lying to us telling that we cannot do anything right.

The other day, on the issue of taming the tongue, i.e. “Out of the same mouth, come praising and cursing. James 3:10. …no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8 I had a blowout. I have been taking a medication that can, as a side effect, cause angry outbursts. The other day, all %^#@* broke loose. I spewed angry words over my husband. I was horrified. Did I have a legitimate explanation because of the medication? Although, it was a contributing factor, junk seemed to be hidden in my heart. 

There certainly are times when we can over focus on the enemy and his tricks. However, ignoring the acts of his presence is a mistake too. Without having the “devil made me do it” excuse…I better believe that he is out “to kill, steal and destroy.” 

This brings me to the final section.

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7a.

 Again, I glossed over what preceded that verse. SUBMIT yourselves to God THEN resist the devil and he will flee.

So James has taken on a whole different tone or me. It is a practical book with a lot of wisdom.

I am not sure I could call it my favorite, but it is a book that has much value in my life.

Anytime I sense myself wavering or slipping and sliding, I think it would be a good time to check in with James.

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