My marriage is perfect.
Ha! Do you have a perfect marriage?
I am the best mom ever.
Yeah, right! Would you be awarded the “Best Mother Award”?
My car is nicer than yours.
Nope! Are you “THE“ Joneses or keeping up with them?
Why do we pretend to be something we aren’t? Things look good on the outside, but behind closed doors we may be falling apart.
We don’t want anyone to open the doors of our closet because everything will fall out. Much less do we invite them over to hang out because the house is a mess, the carpet needs cleaning, clothes need washing, dishes are in the sink and toys are all over the floor.
We are even afraid to let God open the door into our heart. He may have been knocking for years, but we just crack the door and tell Him to wait. We think we have plenty of time to make a decision to surrender our lives. If we let Him in, He would point out our faults and we might have to change something we are not ready to change yet, so we wait.
Most of us are comfortable with our lives and afraid to change even if it means life would get better. We justify our choices and decisions and don’t believe that we are doing anything wrong. Many times, by the world’s standards, our choices aren’t so bad and are acceptable, but if we line them up to God’s standards, we will fall short.
Twenty-one years ago I quit following the world and realized I needed a Savior. I no longer said “no” to Jesus. I opened the door and let Him in.
I wish I could say I didn’t pretend we were the perfect little family, but I can’t. Even though I said “yes” to Jesus there were corners of my life that were still a mess.
The daddy of my children had some pain issues and began a long road to addiction shortly after my son was born. It was hidden well and we pretended nothing was wrong. We looked like life was good.
In reality the addiction got worse and worse, and life behind the doors into our home was hard. When my ex-husband ran out of medicine he would get flu-like symptoms and become sick and mean. He would lie and manipulate to get more prescription drugs. Finally there was no more hiding and pretending, because sin crept into our lives and others could see it.
Recently I did a survey on Facebook asking people for their favorite book of the Bible. The most mentioned was James, so we have begun a new series at Ask God Today Ministries based on it.
There were quite a few men named James in Jesus’ time, but it is believed that the one who wrote this letter was the brother of Jesus, and he didn’t mince words. So here we are, and for the month of September we will be studying his words with you, helping you to see that we all make mistakes. This book will convict you, and we want to scatter it with grace.
The Book of James is a five-page letter, broken into two different sections. The first is about the “Testing of Your Faith” or, as the NIV titles it, “Trials and Temptations.” The second is “Hearing and Doing the Word.” It is full of ways to live a godly life. We just have to be obedient and apply it to our lives.
As humans it is a given fact that we will all face trials. Being a Christian helps determine how you will face those trials. Many times God uses them to test, develop and help us walk in our faith.
“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. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
James 1: 2-5 NIV
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 NIV
The second part of this chapter contains the convicting verses. See, God tells us we will be tested and then He tells us to be obedient to His word. He’s not kidding with us. Many times we pretend that we have it all together and yet we are dying inside behind those closed doors. He promises us that His way is the right way. Life is hard and when we mess around with sin, trying to do things our way, it is even harder.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and
slow to become angry,
because human anger
does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and
the evil that is so prevalent and
humbly accept the word planted in you,
which can save you.
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 1:19-25 NIV
This past weekend my husband, daughter and I went to Elevation Church in North Carolina for their Orange Code Revival and heard Steven Furtick speak that evening. Included in his message was that we don’t only receive a message from God; we need to respond to it. Be doers, not just hearers.
If we just receive . . . receive . . . receive and only soak up God’s Word but never respond to what God tells us, then we are not obeying. We are not applying His word to our life. How can this happen?
I used to question how anyone could say they are saved and go to church every week, but with no evidence of change in their life. Guess what? It’s not up to me to question someone else’s walk with the Lord. I am only responsible for myself and my walk with the Lord.
As a believer I have to “walk the talk.” I can’t just hear the Word and talk it; I have to hear the Word, receive it and respond to it by doing what it says.
No more pretending to have the perfect marriage or to be the perfect mom. No more keeping up with the Joneses. We have to quit pretending to be Christians and talking one way but living another.
John 8:32, which says, “. . . the truth will set you free,” is used many times by followers of Christ to refer to Jesus as “the Truth.” This also applies to our lives. When we quit hiding the truth by justifying our actions and instead start responding to what God teaches, we will be set free from bondage and become doers of the Word.
Ask God Today:
- How do I apply James 1 to my life?
- What do I need to receive from the Lord?
- What do I need to “do” or “respond to” that Jesus is telling me?
- Do Moms Deserve Our Honor, Respect, and Love? - May 8, 2017
- What Kind of Godly Mom Are You? - May 3, 2017
- I was Finally Forced to Carry the Cross Too - April 14, 2017
- What Do We Do with Jesus? - April 13, 2017
- How to be Godly Parents When we are Busy Raising the Kiddos - March 8, 2017
- Keep Your Heart Happy. 5 Timely Tips to Prevent A Heart Attack. - February 6, 2017
- David’s Secret Life - January 31, 2017
- Do I Really Need Daily and Annual Goals? - January 4, 2017
- Teach Your Children the Importance of Giving - December 12, 2016
- Why Do We Have Family Traditions? - December 7, 2016