Monday, March 5, 2012

Journeying Through James

A month ago I decided, with a small group of women at church, to memorize the book of James. We had just started our new winter/spring session of bible study and were beginning to study the book of James with Beth Moore. Part of the study is a opportunity to memorize the entire book of James. I considered it and then just knew that I needed to commit to it.

I decided that it would be a good way for me to build my relationship with God.

And it has. Life has continued to move on at a rapid pace but I think that by focusing my thoughts on the Word of God daily I am better able to stay focused on Him. I am learning to relate to Him in a whole new way.

By immersing myself into the book on this level, I find myself thinking of the text and what it means and how it applies to my life. I know that this is something that we are to do with our regular bible reading. But I just don't all of the time. I usually read a passage and then move on to the next thing. I don't steep myself into a passage. Really take it in, ingest it, meditate on it.

With this intense focus on James that is changing. I am learning to really put myself into the Word. Asking God daily to speak to me. To make His Word alive in my life. Some days I don't do a very good job of surrendering and being open to whatever He would have me learn but on some days I get it and am blown away with truths and lessons.

Today has been one of those days. I spent time this morning working on my bible study and then time on my memory work. It was uninterrupted time, sweet time, Jesus and me time. Still I found myself a little distracted. I think that my struggle with distraction is part of my personality at this moment in my life. I need to begin my prayer time with asking God to help me with my distractability. I know that He will. it is just a nuissance!

So, today I rehearsed my previously memorized portion

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings!
Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, 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.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting. For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For this person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man unstable in all his ways.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation and the rich in his humiliation because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuit. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast for when he has stood the test, He will recieve the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God" for God cannot be tempted with evil and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Do not be deceived my beloved brothers. Every good gift 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. Of his own will he has brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Know this my beloved brothers: let ever person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:1-21

And I started to think. I have endured trials. I have been tempted. I am rich in comparison to the rest of the world. If I focused only on the things that I have experienced or have characterized my life I will miss the point.

James reminds me that if I endure the trials my faith will be strengthened. He reminds me that I am not to blame God for when I am tempted. And he warns me of the futility of my riches. Pursuing them will result in nothing of substance. They fade away just as petals on a flower falls.

I am learning much by journeying through James. My God is so good to me. I am so grateful to have this time and opportunity to travel this road with Him!