Be wrecked for Jesus

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22

I know how to live a physically healthy lifestyle. If I eat lean meats the size of my palm every day, focus more on fruits and veggies and less on chocolate and ice cream, and get 30 minutes of exercise a day, I would be in great shape. For some reason, my conscience believes this will happen by osmosis … that I really don’t have to do anything, just know about it, and it will happen.

Our spiritual life is like that, too. We can gain infinite Bible knowledge, listen to a ton of sermons, recite the creeds, but unless we put our beliefs into action, we are not producing a healthy spiritual life … we are just getting fatter. Following Jesus means to be doing, going, praying, caring, helping and more. It is a faith-active lifestyle. God wants us to be spiritually lean machines and he tells us how to do it in his bestseller, the Bible.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, when I am not keeping fit in faith. I pray that I can overcome all hindrances and follow you freely and gain the spiritual fitness you have in mind for me. Amen

Faith Tip: One great resource for a spiritually healthy life that recently came out is Jeff Goins’ book Wrecked. I recommend reading that along with God’s word.

The treasure found in suffering

Worship BG - We Are The Body of Christ

Worship BG - We Are The Body of Christ (Photo credit: bemky)

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. – Colossians 1:24

Is there still suffering for the church today? I’m sure many of us can come up with examples we have experienced or know in which suffering has happened. There are different types of suffering which affect us physically and/or emotionally. There are some kinds of tribulations experienced in other countries that we cannot grasp what that would be like. Is it all worth it?

There’s a lot of treasure mined as we journey through challenges and trials. It is through the struggles where we really discover who we are, who we belong to, who we can trust, and what we are really made of. Without the hard times, we would remain oblivious to many things in life. There would be no growth in us.

So is it worth suffering for the church … the Body of Christ? Jesus seemed to think so. He willingly gave his life for it. Paul knew he lacked some spiritual things and by suffering was able to become stronger for the church. Perhaps that is why James wrote to consider it pure joy to suffer (James 1:2).

Prayer: Lord, the suffering I have experienced has made me stronger and thank you for that. I pray that I can trust you in any circumstance that comes knowing you are using it for your kingdom good. Amen

Faith Tip: Look at an area of your life in which you suffer and try to see how God is working through you in this.

Hang on to the rope

Climber repelling Rooster Rock in the Menageri...

Climber repelling Rooster Rock in the Menagerie Wilderness, Willamette National Forest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4

It always amazes me when I speak to someone who has been through so many trials, and yet has a beautiful disposition. The people I interview many times have a story to tell, but usually it is on the other side of a challenging time in their life. Whether it is the death of someone close, substance abuse, physical abuse, health issues or other, the journey is the story. 

It would be easy to succumb to the trials and become weary and bitter if we lean on our own strength. This is not to say that Christians do not struggle or are lost at parts of their journey, but I do think that God continually reaches out to impart his strength in those who are hurting. It’s grabbing on to the rope God tosses us and pulls us out of the pit. This takes a step of faith … especially at those times when nothing makes sense. To God, it makes perfect sense and the work he is doing in each one of us is producing a beautiful and strong servant of the Lord who looks a bit like Jesus.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the work you do in my heart. I pray that I will not succumb to what the world brings, but to rely on my faith in you for getting me through the challenges in life stronger and better than before. Amen

Faith Tip: Are you struggling today? If not, you most likely will be soon. Look to God for direction. Stand on the foundation of faith to help you persevere.  

Move It! Move It! Move It!

exercising on Benidorm beach

exercising on Benidorm beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:22-25

I collect different exercise articles like most people collect recipes. The exercises look doable. I know the importance of moving. I always feel better after exercising. So why don’t I keep at it? I find myself working at the computer for three or four hours and then remembering I should get up and walk. I am a bit stiff at this point. I continue to remind myself I need to move.

Perhaps this is what happens in our Christian walk. We know the truth. We read about what we should and shouldn’t do. Somehow as each day passes, we reflect on lost opportunities to follow Jesus. Eight hours of work goes by, dinner time, TV time, activities and more. There is a lot to do each day. We have to make a conscious effort, preferably before the day starts, to follow the Christ. Keeping the image of Jesus in our minds and hearts will help us remember. It truly is a blessing to be doing what God has called us to do.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for the ways you remind me to follow you. It is always a blessing. I pray that I will not forget your call and follow obediently. Amen

Faith Tip: Feeling forgetful? Don’t let it drag you down. Just pick up the Word of God and be refreshed and go and do. God’s there to help you accomplish more than you can imagine for his glory.