Just an update before I start writing what I really want to get to- it’s been a crazy (both good and difficult) past month or so. I haven’t been in routine and I’ve walked through some transitions. I went home to Ohio over the winter break for a month. I got to witness the birth of my beautiful nephew, Dawson, and it was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had. I got to celebrate with my best friend Aubrey on her new season of engagement. I started my final semester of college and began the process of job hunting. I recently went through a break up. But through all of these things, I see how faithful God has been and how good he is- both in the joy and the sorrow. Even when circumstances and seasons change, Christ remains the same, which is why I want to keep looking to him as my Sovereign guide. With all of this said, let me write out some thoughts.
Sometimes writing helps my brain process and reflect since my mind usually spins and spins like a hamster wheel. It’s freeing for me to get thoughts out especially in the midst of stress. My church just started a new sermon series over the book of James. I was unable to go Sunday since I was out of town, but last night while I was attempting to work on school work, I got distracted for the better I believe. I ended up putting all my school work away and listened to the sermon online from Sunday. I usually have this mentality that “once I get the thing done that is stressing me out, then I’ll feel better and spend time with Jesus.” That is an absurd way to handle circumstances because that is me saying I have to be in control, relying on my own strength, not Christ’s. It’s a downward spiral with this mentality because I am holding onto control and cares of this world, which chokes the world and proves unfruitful (Mark 4:19). I believe a lie when I think I have to fix the stress before coming to Jesus. I cannot take on the worries of this world–Jesus has already accomplished that for me and for those who trust in him. He cares. He allows us to freely cast our anxieties on him, because he cares (1 Peter 5:7). Anyways, I am grateful that I set aside stress for the sake of hearing the Word be preached.
So in the weeks to come, God willing, I will probably blog through the text of James that we cover. This week my pastor just prefaced the book and then literally read through James in its entirety, which took 16 minutes to read. I love digging into the word like that, allowing it to resonate with hearts and let the Spirit do what he does through God’s Word.
The book of James reveals that God is trying to lead us into the deepest life possible, filled with joy. He is not the enemy of life, but the giver of it. God is not a taker, but a giver. And where he takes, he takes only to give. In other words (the words of John Piper), “God is not a killjoy, he just opposes what kills joy.” God makes known to us the fullest path of life when he reveals to us who he is. God alone satisfies the longings of our hearts. When God reveals to us that Christ is glorious and beautiful, we no longer will want to chase and chase after false hopes and promises. Christ is better. Not that things besides Christ aren’t good or to be enjoyed, but only in the context that God sets out for us because he sees better and wants better for us than we do for ourselves. So when I see commandments through the book of James (and throughout the whole Bible), it’s not to rob me of joy, but to lead into a deep-rooted joy.
What we need most is to behold God’s glory. Our hearts are restless until they see and behold the beauty of God. “The book of James is our Heavenly Father going ‘No no, this way, come on. No don’t do it. I’m eternal, you’re not. This way to life, to meaning, to depth.'” Jesus says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Friends, this is our Savior, the Son of God who came and died the death that we deserve, so that we might experience the true path to life.
For His glory,