Foolishly, look at my comments yesterday, it would seem only natural that I should have continued a bit further. So, let me just pick up from where I was and hopefully not lose any of the momentum.
James closes his first statement:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I used an illustration of muscles yesterday to look at perseverance. Continuing on from that illustration, if muscles are not left to finish healing, there is quite a possibility that they may damage themselves. Professional athletes are a clear example of this, instead of taking the necessary time to allow themselves to heal, they push themselves too hard and cause serious, even permanent, damage.
If your persevering faith is not allowed to mature and be complete, it can cause serious, I daresay, in some cases permanent damage. Too often, I have seen people, myself included, run too hard in life and then burnout. Not having given the appropriate time to rest and recover. It is a curse of today’s society that people simple don’t stop.
I recently wrote an entry about my day of rest and the importance of it. I want to further emphasise and state the importance of having a day of rest. For the majority of people that happens during the weekend. However, as most of us can probably attest to, you don’t really rest but use it as a time to catch up on the much neglected things in life. Please read my entry as it is super important but I don’t have the space to discuss it further here.
Within the fast-paced society of the 21st century, it is just too difficult not to get caught up in the flow. I look around me and nobody ever really stops. It’s just go… go… go. People, let me urge you, take back your time! In danger of sounding like a slave of the ‘me’ culture, if you truly want to be able to be effective and live the life God created for you, then you need to rest!
People were not made to work 24/7. Our bodies were not made to operate at the capacity that most people drive them, you don’t need a doctor to tell you this! How many people can say they can consistent, refreshing, appropriate sleep day-to-day, week-to-week? From my own observation, not many! Too many people drive themselves too hard, end up getting sick before they get the rest they are supposed to. Even when they do get sick, they still don’t rest.
This morning as I was listening to the radio, one of the radio announcers had a frog throat (lost their voice) and could barely speak! Yet, they still rocked up to work. I doubt that their employers would have given them any strife if they took time off to rest and recover their voice! Honestly, can I say any more? (Yes, I can but I won’t!)
The situation as it is, none of us will reach full maturity and completion and James goes on to say this:
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
Wisdom has been often misinterpreted. Most of us would interpret it as knowledge or understanding of how to deal with a situation. Well, yes, wisdom is that but not entirely. Biblical Wisdom incorporates a great deal more; in the OT, wisdom was seen in the practical skills needed for the building of the Temple; it was seen in the Sciences, in understanding the nature of the world around us and how it worked. Wisdom, very simply, is the ability, knowledge and/or understanding in the daily living of life.
As we grow in our faith, it is a journey. A journey that will only come to full maturity and completion when we walk through the pearly gates of Heaven. Until then, it is a journey, it is a process of growing and learning continuously. I have never met an elderly person who knew it all. For all their years of experience, they don’t always have the answers. Of course, there is a great wealth of wisdom to be gleaned from them, their years are not in vain, not at all! Sit down with an elderly person and just listen to their story (and be patient), there is a great wealth of experience that we younger ones can learn from.
Back to James, if any of you, me, anyone lacks the know-how to live life as it is intended…well, why not ask the One who created life. Who better to ask about the meaning of a book than the author? Who better to help you with a new gadget than the person who invented it? You don’t ask a mechanic to fix your TV (unless they knew how). You don’t ask a dentist to check your eyes (ouch)! You get the picture.
If you lacking anything in living life, ask the One who created life itself and allow Him to instruct you. He created life so that it can be enjoyed and desires for you to enjoy it. A person doesn’t invent something and then put it out on the market to sit and do nothing, he puts it out there to be used (and to make money). God created life and gave it to us in order that we might enjoy it. Didn’t Jesus say, “Ask and it will be given to you.”
Let me clarify this, as it is prone to abuse. God doesn’t give exactly what you ask. Let me take the example Jesus used and take it a bit further. Jesus: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Well, likewise, which of you, if your son asks you for a poison cane toad, will give him a poison cane toad? God won’t give you what is not beneficial to you. If you ask for a Ferrari and you like to drive fast, you think you’re going to get one? Heck, no!
However, God will give generously all good gifts to those who ask.
Next time: Part 3 – having a firmly-grounded faith.
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Your entries here on James really encouraged me to embrace the ups and downs of life as they come – sounds kind of airy fairy, but just remembering that trials have good outcomes really encouraged me.
I still find it hard to really rejoice in hard times, but pray that God would work that change in me!