But it ain't easy.
As I work to memorize the book of James, the scriptures are really beginning to penetrate my heart and my mind--praise the Lord! There is so much crammed in such a small book and it is SO rich. I happen to be doing the Beth Moore study on James, which encourages the memorization over 5 months. Whew...I'm glad that I'm working on memorizing this over a year. I definitely need the extra time to just meditate on the depth of these 108 verses!
Talk about zingers of truth!
I am getting cut to the very marrow of my being. I am learning more and more how vile I am and how much I need Jesus to consume me. I am humbled and blessed and encouraged and torn down and built up and overwhelmed and...well, it's a lot.
As Beth Moore so succinctly put it, the summary of James on faith is: LIVE IT!
When he says not to show favoritism, I am fully convicted that I show favoritism in a multitude of ways, some subtle and some glaringly obvious.
When he says the prayer offered in faith brings healing, I question if I'm praying with true faith. Sometimes I pray kind of wishy-washy prayers because I don't know what God's will is in a specific situation. I don't need to know...that's why I'm praying. Duh!
When he says that the religion of someone who cannot keep a tight rein on his or her tongue is worthless, I recoil. Seriously. It's not mediocre. It's not alright. It's WORTHLESS.
When he says to ask God for wisdom, okay...I do that consistently. But when he says to believe when you ask and not doubt...well...in complete honesty I do often have some doubt.
Have you ever seen the movie "The Polar Express"? Well, I am learning that I'm "the doubter".
Believe me...I can relate to Thomas (a.k.a. DOUBTING Thomas).
Now, let me explain. I don't doubt God. I don't doubt that He gives generously to all of His children. I don't doubt that He is omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent. I don't doubt that He can do anything and everything that He wants and that He can use anyone or anything that He wants to, when He wants to.
What I DO doubt...is myself. I guess this study of the book of James is revealing to me that I don't really have a firm grasp of my identity in Jesus Christ. I thought I did. I am also reading "Absolute Surrender" and recently read "Intimacy with the Almighty". Both have reinforced that I regularly fail to claim the full victory and power that God has given me through Jesus Christ to do His work. Sure, I have been claiming some of the victory and some of the power; I just haven't been claiming all that He's offering. God can use my prayers, offered in faith, to bring healing. God will give me His wisdom when I believe Him for it and I search Him and His word for it. God will rein in my tongue if I am willing to surrender it to Him. God will completely consume my heart if I surrender it fully to Him.
I pray this year will be revolutionary in my life. I pray that God will change me to be more like Him. I must decrease and He must increase.
Oh, my. I have so much to learn. I will always have more to learn. I pray God will never quench my thirst to learn more of Him and I pray for His empowerment to absorb it all.