A good friend lovingly pointed out to me a couple of weeks ago the sin of pride in my life. Normally I would have been annoyed, but it rang so deep and true that I realized I can’t continue living in my prideful, independent and stubborn bubble forever. The Lord has been revealing Himself to me in such incredible ways that I have to share…
1) My character isn’t as lovely as I would like to think. I complain A LOT. And I’m really negative and critical. My issues are trials, here to strengthen me, teach me steadfastness and character. (James 1:2-4) I don’t pray for humility, but simply “self-forgetfulness” (thanks Tim Keller).
2) When I don’t ask for things in faith, I am “double-minded” and “unstable.” Hear that?! UNSTABLE. Thanks James for the clear calling out and conviction. (James 1: 5-8)
3) I compare myself to other people a lot. It’s a fact I try to hide, but let’s be honest here, I do it. I get jealous and frustrated when I think I deserve things that I don’t have. But I am tempted by my desires (James 1:14-15), not by God. When I compare myself or my life to others, I’m not living in gratefulness or really even true community with the Lord. I am to keep myself unrestrained from the world (James 1:27)- and THAT is true religion. I could go on and on about this…
4) Life is not about being happy. It’s about my sanctification. Of course the Lord wants us to be happy, but filtered through Him- we delight ourselves in Him, He gives us desires, then He hands them to us. I’ve seen over and over that God wants to give us good things but not always in our timing. Honestly, I did NOT want to get married until I was in my 30s. I had stuff to do, places to go…but God wanted to give me that gift sooner than I wanted. I wanted a job last summer…God decided to give it to me in His perfect timing in the fall. He teaches during the waiting (or the non-waiting), and the goal is to think “How is this making me holy, more like Jesus?”
5) I was processing with my friend Suzanne last week about some of this. She pointed out that all of this is simply life- we have the Spirit in us, yet we are flesh. Therefore we will ALWAYS have a battle waging war in us. As sad and hard as that sounds, it somewhat frees me to know God is the winner and all I need to do is actively trust and believe Him.
Basically James chapter 1 has rocked my world. I could elaborate (and for some people I did!), and I am so thankful that I can take the pressure of being perfect, making everyone happy, and trying to keep up with the world OFF.