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. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. James 1:2-8 (NIV)
I would call the temptation of sin a â€˜trialâ€™. In this world, I â€œface trials of many kindsâ€ and some of those trials involve familiar sin, something that is a weakness for me. God is trying to build strength in my faith! James calls it â€œperseveranceâ€. I persevere not to sin. I choose to say â€œNo!â€ I may have to say â€œNoâ€ every dayâ€¦maybe more than once a day. It will grow me up!
Avoiding temptation cannot be done with just my will. I donâ€™t have the strength alone to do that. I must make some changes.
- I must seek God. This has to be the priority of my day. If I am battling a sin in my life, then my day must begin and end with God. I have to get myself out of bed in the morning before work and whatever other pressures are going to come in my day and spend time with the One who does have the strength and wisdom to make it through the day.
- I need the discipline of a weekly Bible study. Frankly, this isnâ€™t always easy to find the right â€œfitâ€ but that cannot be the excuse that keeps me away from this piece of what helps me receive from God what I need.
- James said that I must believe in what God is giving me and telling me to do. I must focus on my relationship with Godâ€¦not man. Here is a life-change. Learning to live my life for God and to please God. I may disappoint people with my choices. I may choose a path that does not have â€˜successes that man recognizes. If my eyes are on God, I will be a â€˜successâ€™ in His eyes doing Kingdom workâ€¦that begins with changes in my life. I cannot be a witness for others until I allow God to change me.
James ends this passage of Scripture with some tough words about being double-minded. I always thought of it as â€˜fence sittingâ€™. I was trying to be Jesusâ€™ disciple while still walking to the worldâ€™s tune.
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11 (NIV)
Here I am â€“ warring against sin. I choose to be â€˜weirdâ€™ by filling my life with God and about God and for God. Jesus said that when I clean my house I need to fill it with something or the demons will come back in abundance and worse than before! (Luke 11:24-26) Pay attention, Jody! If you kick sin out of your life you need to fill that empty space with God!
Let us GROW UP! Let us allow God to lead us to maturity that brings strength to our faith for the days ahead.