During this past week, I was rereading the book of James. While going through the five chapters, I made a list of the passages that invoked strong memories or feelings tied to my spiritual growing pains. The seven passages below represent a few of my “a-ha” moments; when I finally realized spiritual exercise, growth, understanding and discipline was occurring in my life.
Chapter 1 verse 2: A trial, temptation or test is an opportunity to prove the genuineness of my faith and/or to display God’s victory over sin, Satan and death. The trials themselves are no source of joy; but the opportunity for victory is great joy.
Chapter 1 verse 25: The word of God is not an oppressive burden to be resisted but the authentic source of real freedom.
Chapter 1 verse 27: The real test of true religion is how I put my faith to work in my everyday life (simple, but not always easy).
Chapter 2 verses 14, 18: Inactive faith is useless, lifeless and worthless. It is also an insult to God. My faith is expressed through my actions. To please God, I must listen, believe and act.
Chapter 3 verse 2: If I could just control my mouth. My speech tells everyone what dwells within my heart. Is it earthly wisdom or heavenly wisdom?
Chapter 4 verses 7, 8: Submission to God does not mean I am surrendering all of my freedom and happiness. I am voluntarily putting myself under the protecting authority of my Father (whom I adore, cherish and respect).
Chapter 4 verses 15 – 17: It is not wise to make plans for my future without the Lord (ignoring the wisdom and parameters of His will). Sin of omission is still sin.
Growth is challenging and uncomfortable. If we fail to grow up spiritually, we become bloated babies. Determination and effort comes with the territory. Considering your own painful growth spurts as a Christian, what passages from this book resonate with you?