You have a choice

So I read James today, and not even the whole thing. I got about 4 verses in before I had to stop and start journalling. When you’re looking for truth, it seems to jump out at you. Want something good? Here it is:

“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.” James 1:2-4

I put my Bible down and let it sink in for a minute. So Jesus, let me get this right. You want me to view the hard days, the ones where I want to run away from confrontation, when I want to curl up in a ball and either cry or sleep, the days that I am misunderstood, attacked, trash talked, demoted and unappreciated- you want me to take those days and consider that as joyful? If I stop at that verse, I’ve missed it. I’ve lost the point, and I’ve lost the reward of doing such an insane thing, because what is the reward?

Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of  difficulties,obstacles, or discouragement.

All this rolls together at the end of the day. You learn how to persevere. You learn that even in the middle of your struggle there is grace offered, there are words ready to be spoken to encourage you, there is always One waiting and helping you along. At the end of the day you will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

How bold is that? You won’t lack anything. Is James crazy? How can I, a weak human, not lack anything? The thought seems impossible, even a bit unbiblical, until I realize that everything is given to me in the form of Jesus. Everything we need- comfort, encouragement, strength, faith, salvation, provision, safety- it’s all in Jesus.

When I was graduating from 8th grade they asked for our favourite Bible verse. I, naively, chose this verse to be read out as I gracefully walked to receive my diploma. “Consider it joy when you face trials”. I’m not going to say I’ve had the worst life ever, by all means I have been undeservingly blessed, but trials have still come my way. I won’t look back and say I handled them all in a Christ like manor, but I will say that I have developed character from them. But it all came from a choice, which is the point I’ve been trying to get to today. I had a choice when I was struggling to get through my bad days, to either keep carrying it alone, or to open up and let others help me, to let God help me. I had a choice, we all have a choice.

I had a choice to see struggle, or a chance to grow in Jesus.

I had a choice to see pain, or the platform for joy.

I had a choice to carry it alone, or to carry it with my family, my friends, and my sweet Saviour.

God continues to amaze me (and I pray this never stops) in the way He shows Himself to me. Each day, when I’m actually turning my eyes to Him, He has something new to say, a new treasure for me to unfold, but will I choose it? Will I choose to say “Yes, God, today I give you my day, even though it’s already Yours to take.” Will I let go of my life, in order to gain eternity?

It all starts with a choice. And how gracious of Him, how patient and kind and merciful of Him, to offer this gift in the form of a man that every one of us can relate to on some level.

Can I challenge you, sweet reader, to lay your choices down to Him today? The choices of who to love, where to work, which words to speak, and which songs to sing? Each choice that we make daily can glorify and honour Him, or it can do the exact opposite. I don’t mean to scare you or make you feel guilty with that, just sharing what He has made me aware of recently.

Oh, and ps.- If you lay it down to Him, He’ll always help you make the right choice.

beautifulthings

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

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The one you feed

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I’ve read this so many times, perhaps you have too, but it wasn’t until recently that I fully grasped what this means to me. Everyday we have choices to make. “Will I speak kind words today?” “Who is more important today? Me, or the one bothering me?” “Will I act on what I’m feeling?” And every choice has a consequence, sadly.

But what helps you make your decisions? You could say your moral character, but we’re all selfish and faulted deep down inside. For me, I know I’m giving myself the best opportunity to succeed if I’m giving the decision to Jesus. If it’s something I struggle with, than how could I begin to think I can figure it out on my own? The Cherokee is right- the one you feed is the one who wins.

Today, everyday, I have the choice to choose good or bad. I could go into detail about “what is good? what is bad?”, but really I think that’s a pointless conversation. I think inwardly, we all know what is good or bad, because God gave us His Spirit to discern these things. And right now I’m preaching to the choir, because I’m right there with you.

I think this could be the shortest one yet, and I’m pretty thankful for that. I’m thankful because it’s not that difficult- all I need to do is give it to God. Hand it over and let Him lead me. Let Him show me a bigger plan, with more detail, beauty and adventure than I could ever imagine.

What will you feed today?

With Strength that is not my own, Sam