Saturday, July 28, 2012

6 Hard Things - God never said it would be easy

I may not ever know for sure who was doing the misbehaving at the beginning of James chapter 5, but I do know what James has to say to me about what my behaviour should look like when I am being mistreated - or when I think I am being mistreated. This may be the end of his letter, but James doesn't pull any punches; he doesn't sugar coat; he makes no effort to ease me into what God's standard for me as a believer. It's almost like we are sitting on my couch sipping coffee and James has just heard my long list of "I've been done wrongs" and then he takes a deep breath, says a quick pray and hits me with this!
  • Be patient and don't be swayed by others (vs 7-8). God's timing isn't Trisha's timing and it's not your timing either. I can't see all of Gods plan, and sometimes I can see very little of God's plan or my place in it. God never shows up late to the party. My responsibility is to wait for God, in God's time, to do what He is going to do - and to live the way He has called me to live in the mean time.
  • Don't grumble against sisters and brothers in Christ (vs 9). Pretty much that means SHUT YOUR MOUTH. Hmmmm What about when I am right and the other guy is wrong? SHUT YOUR MOUTH.  What about when my way is better, smarter, faster, more logical, or more fun. SHUT YOUR MOUTH. Grumbling comes from anger, frustration and selfishness. It is never rooted in wanting to see God's best in another person. It's meant to tear down, belittle or devalue. It expresses personal dissatisfaction ant not spiritual concern.  SHUT YOUR MOUTH.
  • Learn from Spiritual Mentors (vs 10-11). The Bible, and even our home church, is full of examples of people who faced hard, unfair, and sometimes cruel circumstance without compromising God's standards for holy living. Waiting on God isn't the easy path. Hearing the stories of Gods ultimate faithfulness that's often revealed on the other side of difficulty has benefit. Embracing wisdom, support and encouragement from others who have also journeyed thru struggles and pain can give me strength as I am facing my own trails. God's tenderness and concern for His children is limitless, and He will not fail me. It may take time, but God will reveal His ultimate love and faithfulness.
  • Watch your mouth (vs12) Be a person who's word can be trusted. Be careful making or taking oaths.
  • Pray and offer Praise (vs 13-18). Instead of fighting, how about we pray. Pray when you are concerned or sick; offer prayers of praise when you are happy or well.  Be honest with each other about your shortcomings and failures and then pray (and not judge or gossip) for each other over those things too.
  • Hold each other accountable (vs 19-20). Accountability is not judgement. Don't write off people who are wandering off from God. Love them enough to fight for them. Love them enough to speak the truth IN love.

So they they are - 6 hard things. But now I have an action plan. A way to be proactive in my times of trail. Something to do while I learn to patiently wait! God never said it would be easy. But the Bible does say "The Lord is gracious an compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love" Psalms 145:8  AMEN - and Praise God for that!!!

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