I love how the Psalmist doesn’t say “if I walk through the darkest valley” or anything close to that… No, he says WHEN he does because we all know that dark times come. That’s a guarantee that is very clear all throughout the Bible.
There seems to be this weird concept within Christianity that most believe protect us from dark times, but the reality is that more dark times come. When we proclaim Christ as our Lord we become Satan’s enemy. When we proclaim God as our standard of living, we become the world’s enemy.
Time & time again we find ourselves in a position of darkness. That life just isn’t going good, bills are adding up, stresses of relationships are getting more complex, the boss at work is a jerk, your friends are flakes, etc… there are an abundance of things that we all have to worry about on a daily basis & at times they can seem overwhelming.
BUT if we fix our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith we can have renewed hope. Jesus dealt with so very much on earth. Yes, it’s easy to overlook Jesus because He is the son of God, BUT He still lived 30 years on this earth as a normal man. Working, living, surviving, etc… when he was 30 his ministry life officially kicked off, but for 30 long years he lived life just like we all do.
Troubles in life will come but even more so God is right there with you. He is right by your side, intimately involved in every aspect of our lives. In the moment we can’t always see the hand of God at work BUT when we take a moment to look back we can see His fingerprints all over our lives….
I love this verse & what it means to us all. James kicks it off with a rhetorical question… Getting right to the point & expressing that we need to walk it out. If any of us are truly wise & have a deep understanding of Christ then the way we live will show it. Plain & simple. A majority of us want to live effective lives that leave an impact on this world & want our words and thoughts to be significant to those around us…
Look at Joseph’s life! The dude went through some craaaazy stuff that would break most of us, BUT he is a shining example of wise living. There were many times Joseph could have given up and said, “Screw it.” But he refused. He remained faithful & kept his trust in God. He walked out the Godly wisdom each and everyday, regardless of his circumstances.
In the book of Matthew we can clearly see that our actions show where our hearts are invested. If we are to show it by living right, we just ensure our hearts are in the right place. Even if we do not claim to be wise, we can set our focus on trying to live in Godly wisdom that we get from God’s word!
Each & everyday we must continue to make it our goal to live in Godly wisdom. To read the word & let it transform the way we live. If we are reading the word of God just for head knowledge we are missing out on the most impactful part of it; heart change.
Doing what God asks of us will not always come natural… Truth is, a majority of the stuff God has asked me to do does not come naturally at all. Not in a bad way, but it’s our human nature to do the opposite. We were all born sinners in need of a Savior.
What changes is that day by day we act in obedience to what God asks of us & through that we are taught to do His will… But this is where it gets a little tricky! Because the training will always continue on & on & on.
The things that God asks of us will start small, but as time goes on & on the things He asks us to do get more challenging. He calls us deeper, asks more of us, gives us bigger opportunities, etc… It’s a beautiful thing right?! We are consistently challenged to grow with God & through that we become better people.
The process of learning to obey God is not something we should flee from, but instead we need to learn to embrace it. We are taught on a DAILY basis how to pursue God better. We are trained on HOW to do the will of God.
There is nothing wrong with you. I repeat, there is NOTHING wrong with you. There will be times you won’t do what God asks of you & that’s okay. Whether it be something small like encouraging a stranger, or something big like telling the person you are in a relationship with that you want to be pure. Whether it be simply putting $5 in when the offering comes around or a much bigger sum of money. Whatever it is, God will give you the opportunity to be obedient in the small things to prepare you for the bigger things.
Simply say, “Yes Lord” when something comes up & act on it. Let Him teach you.
Let’s be real. Sometimes life seems to suck. We feel stuck, like nothing is ever going to change, that “these are just the cards I was dealt”, etc… From there we settle with it just being this way & we move onto the next step of trying to put on a pretty smile. We try and act like life is great, like we are satisfied, like we are doing juuuust fine.
Deep down inside there is a longing for something real & authentic in life. We put pressure on ourselves to pursue some weird sense of perfection and like “we’ve made it.” We have turned into Christians focused on what we will do when we get to a “better”‘place with God. An army of men & women who sit by idle. Nothing gets done because so many of us are trying to wait until we perfect the work in us…
Wait what? Ya, I said it. Especially American Christianity. We do these religious deeds & try to “clean” ourselves up so that we would be worthy to do Kingdom Work. Trust me, I’ve got a past just like we all do BUT that’s what makes me rely on Jesus even more. The basic FACT that I am nothing without Him.
The FACT that I’m not the one who began the cleaning up process, I have no idea what that process is & I have no control over that process. I didn’t begin it, I can’t continue it & I dang sure can’t finish it. Neither can you.
Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop waiting for some point where you are “ready.” Stop wasting your days pursuing idols, religion, perfection, etc… & Pursue Him.
He is going to complete the work in our lives. Him & Him alone. You are declared righteous. You are purse, holy, made new, equipped, called, cherished, adored & known intimately… stop thriving. Let Him be your finisher…
Self reflection is a huge part of my routine. I am always doing my best to improve myself & self reflection works wonders. It’s so simple but yet so dang effective! Even if it’s only 5 minutes, or a few moments throughout the day.
After praying over this verse & post for this morning I will say that I was challenged by this verse. Simply because when I asked myself if I truly believe love is the greatest my immediate response was, “Of Course!”
I wasn’t satisfied with it though. I sat here & really dug deep to answer the question repeating in my head, “Do you though?” Of course it’s easy to express love to those we care about & often times it’s pretty easy to express a level of love to strangers, BUT what about those that aren’t easy to love?
Is love still the greatest? Do you really believe it? Do you though? Maybe it’s that co-worker, the ex, that old friend, that family member, etc… if you believe that love is the greatest thing, than we should still be extending it to them. It may look drastically different, but at the core of our hearts we should still be able to love them, why?
Because Jesus does.
Really look into your heart today & ask God to reveal any areas that may not be in tune with Him. Don’t just answer challenging questions with quick responses. Really sit & ask yourself the hard questions. After that, respond, repent if needed & get to work.
I love this verse for so many reasons! It is by far one of the most comforting verses in the Bible, but also such a reality check.
He is our way maker, promise keeper, miracle worker, light in the darkness, good good Father & so much more. Although the conditions in our life may change everyday, that does not mean that He does!
Yes, life can suck. But God takes the “suck” in life & uses it for far greater. God takes the “hurts” in our hearts & turns them into passion. God uses the things that this world has tried to use and break us to empower His love on earth.
Time and time again I have found myself on my knees while God mends my heart. I do not wait for some “perfect” state before I worship. No, I come to Him broken & beaten. I come before the way making, promise keeping, miracle working Father who loves me dearly. The one who loves you deeply.
Wherever you are at in life, it does not change the fact that God loves you.
No matter how dark life may get, He is the light. No matter if you do not see a way, He is a way maker. Life changes, He doesn’t.
Light in the darkness.
That’s our God. That’s our Father. That’s our hope.
It seriously blows me away when I think about what God did for us. The fact that He loves us SO DANG MUCH that He sent His son to die for us. The fact that He wanted us to hang out with Him in heaven, so He sent His Son to die & rise again. The fact that not only did God want to get use into heaven BUT He also wanted us to be an intricate part of His story on earth.
Has that ever hit you? To think about the pure beauty in the fact that God didn’t just save us so we could get into heaven… No, no, no. God saved us so that we could be His representatives on earth.
As a whole (from a media/world standpoint) there is a lot of things that the church has done wrong. Sadly, there are far greater things that the church has done & will continue to do BUT that will rarely get the same kind of media attention.
If Jesus came down to earth to die for all of us. from the least of thee to the most “righteous” it is all the same. The Bible is very clear when it comes to the fact that we are all sinners worthy of nothing but death. That’s Jesus came & died for us all even in the midst of our sin. That Jesus came & died so that we could be transformed daily. One day at a time. One moment at a time. More like Him.
He doesn’t require us to clean ourselves up & try and present some “holy” package to Him each day. The author of Hebrews does an incredible job when he points out ONCE & FOREVER. He is a miracle working God & each day He is working a miracle in our hearts. It is through Him we are saved & that will never change.
We should see ourselves as the sinners that Jesus loves dearly. All the same we should see the worst of sinners & have compassion in our hearts that Jesus died for them as well…