This is a day-to-day devotional study on the book of James. This fun, fast-paced book gives you hands-on advice from a very down-to-earth disciple. Lively teaching and great questions at the end of each section make it easy to… shape up your spiritual life…trim down temptations…tighten up your tongue…buff up your spirit …by putting your faith into action.
Just Believe It shows you how you can start building a faith that is strong enough to go the distance no matter what the circumstance.
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"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the ing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Somehow we may have gotten the impression that once we became Christians, life would be a piece of cake. No problems, no headaches?-we just sort of sit back and cruise to heaven.
Nice idea, but not exactly what the Lord has in mind. Instead of sitting nice and cozy up in the bleachers, chowing down on hot dogs and popcorn, we suddenly find ourselves down on the track, working out!
Trials come. They come in all shapes and sizes, from little irritations to mega-heartaches. They seem baffling, confusing. You may even find yourself falling into the ol', "If God really loves me, why is He letting this happen to me?" routine.
And that's the answer:
God lets all those things happen to you because He loves you.
That's right. You see, you only own one thing that's eternal. You're only taking one thing to heaven: yourself. That's it. The cars, the grades, the relationships, the jobs?-none of those things count in the long run.
People. You and me. We're the only things that are important, the only things that are eternal.
So God takes that one important element, you, and begins to give you a workout?-to exercise and to build your muscles, to run you around the track again and again and again some more. And then-? when you're sure you can't take another step? -He gives you one more lap. Not because He's some sort of dictator, but because He loves you.
In the end He wants you to really be happy, to "be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
But James doesn't let it go at that. He doesn't just say, "OK, guys, try your best not to complain or mutter when trials come your way." He actually takes it a step further. His command us to:
"Consider it pure joy."
He's got to be kidding!
Nope. You see, there's some sort of truth here that he's trying to clue us in on. If, as Christians, we could begin to look on pain as actually being something that's good for us-?as an athlete does when he's working out-?if we could begin to understand that tough times are not supposed to flatten us, but that they are suppose to strengthen us and help us become winners, then we could see things from a totally different perspective.
We could actually begin to welcome pain. Or, as the Bible says, "always giving thanks for all things" (Ephesians 5:20, NASB). We could really begin to understand that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28, NASB).
Life isn't always a piece of cake. In fact, sometimes it can be a real pain. The trick is to figure out how the hard times can help you, how they can make you better, how they can make you more like Jesus, "mature and complete, not lacking anything."
--What tough stuff are you going through?
--How could God use it to make you more like Jesus? (The trick is not to ask why something's happening, but how God can use it).
--Try worshipping Him and thanking Him -- not for the hard stuff, but that He's still in charge and will somehow use that hard stuff "to work together for the good" if you hang in there and love Him.