She remembered that night when she laid in her bed waiting and expecting. Waiting and expecting her father to enter the room and sexually assault her, again. But as she lay there she thought, “One day I will do something great.” And great she did. In 2005, Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” ranked her as 17th. She is known all over the world by her ministry and volunteer work. Joyce Meyer overcame constant sexual abuse as a child because of hope and faith in God.
This week we looked at just one chapter in the Book of James. Chapter one brought us front and center in how to deal with trials. He spoke of spiritual wisdom and the wise act of listening and controlling our anger. In just 26 sentences He stands in front of us in admonition to wake us Christians up. And show the world what trust in Jesus Christ, our savior really means.
He goes on to say that when we leave church, after we pray each morning, or read our devotional each day we ought not to then turn out into the world and forget who we are. We are not like everyone else. Isn’t that what our parents told us when we wanted to go hang out with the “cool kids?” There are expectations and responsibilities to accepting Christ.
When I was a “baby Christian” I had a conversation about church with my mom. She is the daughter of a Baptist minister. She hasn’t regularly attended church since she was a child. She doesn’t pray. She says she believes in God but anyone that knows her couldn’t tell that to be true. She told me that when she was a child at church, she would watch all the ladies attend church dutifully. And then, they would gossip, hate each other, complain endlessly to her father, lie, cheat, and all other manner of sin. My mother had and still has a dim view of “Christians.”
How many of us live our lives fully realizing that not only is God watching how we handle trials and temptations, but our non-Christian friends and neighbors? Do they see you getting angry and yelling and gossiping? Do they get a sense of peace from you during difficult times? Are you easy to talk to because they know you will listen without judgement? And are the words you speak back coming from a Godly place? Do you turn down offers of socializing with friends and tell them it’s because you have a Bible Study you are committed to? Have they heard you speak about your quiet time you spend with God, praying for others? Do you tell others you will pray for them and do it immediately, with them? What was the last book or movie or tv show you settled into? Was it something where you could gain wisdom of God’s ways?
While sitting and listening to God to speak through me before I sat down to write this, the song “My Father’s House” started playing over and over in my head.
When we invite God into our lives during hardship, when we seek His wisdom, when we listen for His voice, and act as He wants us to, we experience His strength and love. The shackles of sin and anger, the ugliness of self-degradation and self-centeredness give way to freedom. Freedom to see His beauty in resolving problems. Freedom to experience joy in even the most difficult of times.
James pulls no punches. But he always reminds us, in the midst of admonishment, of the “why.”
- We will develop maturity and perseverance
- We receive the “crown of life” that the Lord has promised
- We are given the Word of Truth so we can be “firstfruits” of all God has created
- We live in the righteousness that God desires for us
- When we rid ourselves of immorality and accept the Word planted in us, we are saved
- We are given freedom
- We will be blessed in all we do
James is not asking us to do anything more than what we ask of our employees, our children or our friends. If we make a commitment, promise, accept a job, want a friendship, then we must work on it and act in such a way as to say we are all “in.”
My challenge for this weekend it to be fully aware of our actions and words, especially while around non-Christians. Good luck, my prayers are with you.