James 1: 2-4 “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Let’s Talk About It
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” What does this text say about God’s knowledge of you?
God must know me pretty well. I always feel that even during my “Job” or “Jeremiah” moments that He has His arms wrapped around me and that as long as I cling to Him, things will be all right. He knows my strengths and weaknesses way beyond my resume and I have come through some things that looking back seemed insurmountable challenges. Now, I just KNOW that there is nothing that Jesus has not given me the strength to overcome–no trial or temptation is too big.
James describes sin as having a sort of gestation and maturation period. He writes, “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.” everybody has “nursed” sin at some point in their lives. How do we cut off that process of gestation, birth and maturity for sin in our lives?
The easy answer to this is to avoid the occasions of sin whatever they are. Focus on the positive aspects of being a Catholic–the Mass, the Eucharist and especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Keeps the venial from becoming the mortal.
James tell us if we lack wisdom, “ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.” What resources has God freely handed us by which we can gain wisdom? How might we make those resources a part of our lives? What obstacles stand in the way of gaining that wisdom? How might they be overcome?
(See the last answer.) Also, He has given us His Word to read and study to get to know Him. Time is one of my biggest obstacles. Someone asked a question last week on FB. Do we spend more time on the computer than with God? If we do then our priorities are really messed up. That is one of the reasons I have been trying to limit my social media time to an hour each day.
James tells us, “Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” However, our lives are in continual states of change. How do we take the “heavenly perspective” and see our constantly changing lives through the eyes of Him Who does not change?
It seems that my perspective has become more “heavenly” the older that I have gotten. I judge everything now by will it get me to heaven or not. This can drive some people crazy; especially those in my life who do not have the same outlook. This question, though, can make decisions very easy to make.
When Israel conquered Canaan under the leadership of Joshua, Canaanites still remained in the land. God said in Judges 2: 21-23 that He did not drive out all the Canaanites but left some in the land that He might test Israel, whether they would walk in the ways of the Lord. With this in mind, and in light of your current trials, what might God be trying to do in your life in terms of walking in His ways?
I think I am tested a lot because of my Catholicism. I work with all Protestants and find myself (not defending) but explaining things to people in a way that I hope will be “salt and light” to them. Also, many of my children have fallen away from the Church that they were baptized in and while some of them continue to go to a church, it is not the same. This and my granddaughter wanting to get involved with occult practices like crystal reading are my two main trials right now. I am trying to live an authentic Catholic life as an example; however it is hard to do that when they live so far away from us. I’m not sure what God is trying to do in my life over this; but I’m determined to walk in His ways to holiness.
So, now, what about you? Do you have any comments? I’d love to hear from you.
Next Time: James–Study Two
@HomeWork: During our study of James 1: 1-8 what did you learn that you have to “sweep” out of your life” (Spring Cleaning) What do you think you should add? (New Additions)
One response to “Answers From My Heart”
my distraction is this world…i see things happening in our country and have to separate the politics and love of country from god. his world is forever and our “democratic experiment” (OF this world) will fall away eventually. i just have to make sure i am fighting for the right things. but, knowing who god is and that good triumphs, makes everything much easier in that light. knowing who wins in the end makes the journey worth it.
i struggle with my adult children. i want them to have a deep abiding faith in god but have to give them to god as they are his. i also forget the struggle that i had to take to get to that faith and my natural impatience wants to skip that part for them. but they must go through it too. more of the letting go, praying but letting god. god doesn’t have grandchildren, we are all his children so i just pray that their faith returns and strengthens. it will.