Day 2: The Call to Overcome
James 1:9-18 (NIV)
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride his low position—since he will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
12 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.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
A Few Thoughts:
The more time you spend getting to know Jesus, the more you’ll realize he is constantly flipping this world on its head. These verses are a perfect example of this. James 1:9 says those in humble circumstances should be proud of their high status. We all know this world is ruled by those with money and power, so what they heck is God talking about here?
The bible has a wealth… of information about living humbly and giving generously. As Jesus followers, we are called to honor God with our lifestyle and finances. If you’re an American, you’re probably thinking I am living humbly: I don’t have a mansion or a private jet so I’m good. In his book “Radical”, David Platt shares that if you make $20,000 a year you are richer than 80% of the world, if you or your family makes more than $50,000 you are richer than 99% of the world. We are all much, much better off than our culture tells us we are, a culture that screams we will never have enough.
Just as with money, we all face a constant onslaught of temptations that try to drag us away from a beautiful life; for everyone the temptations take different forms. Like a person with alcoholism in their family that is much more likely to become an alcoholic, we all have experiences that make us more vulnerable to certain destructive forces.
Yet, God knows we can overcome anything. God believes we can find our way through the chaos and struggle.
Nothing is impossible for one who believes (Matthew 19:26). You are strong enough to make it through this, to overcome this heartache, to break this addiction, the burst through this complacency, to get out of bed and face your past, to make a difference in this crazy world. The truth is, whatever we’re up against, we have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead racing through our veins (Romans 8:11) I’VE GOT THE POWER. (Bum, bum bum-be-bum)
So when your struggles come (and oh, they’ll come), resist the temptation to turn to things of this world to cope with and numb the pain. No chemical or feeling will ever sustain a life lived fully alive. Take a look at the temptations that lure you away and start fighting back. Invite a friend into the struggle. Use the word of God to fight the voices that scream lies. Rely on this awesome God who wants the best for you in every moment. Thank Him for everything He is doing in your life and press on towards the finish line.
You’ve got this. You’ve totally got this.
A Few Questions
1.) In verse 12, we read that one who perseveres receives the “crown of life.” According to David Platt’s commentary on James, “most original readers of this story would have heard this word and immediately thought of the wreath that would be put on an athlete’s head at the end of a race.” With that in mind, what can we learn from verse 12?
2.) What temptations do you face in your every day life? What can you do when you are feeling tempted? Who in your life can you ask for help or advice in fighting these temptations?
3.) In verse 15 we read that “sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” What in your life is keeping you from feeling fully alive? What step can you take today face your fears and move towards being recklessly alive?
4.) What good gifts has God already placed in your life? What blessings can you thank him for today?
I have more blessings than I could ever thank you for, yet I want, yet I strive, yet I tirelessly crave more. I know that nothing in this world will ever satisfy my deep-seeded hunger for love and truth – still I thirst. Only if everyone could see what you have made known in my life: that you are my still, clear water, the only one who can truly quench the longings of my heart.
You are my source of strength in every sleepless night and hopeful sunrise and I can never thank you enough for calling me a child of God. Now that I’ve gotten a glimpse of life your way, I can’t imagine facing this world without you.
Papa, be with me today as I face a jungle of lies and temptations, a world that wants nothing more than to intertwine and drag me away from the incredible plans you have laid before me. Fill my mind and muscles with the power to resist, the will to flee, and the steadfast desire to put nothing above my relationship with you. For it is you God, that I trust above all else.
Thank you for every perfect gifts you have given me. Thank you for choosing me first in a world that leaves me for last. Thank you for pulling me from the depths of my own destruction and showing me a new way of living. Thank you for never giving up on me, no matter how many times I sprint in the wrong direction. Today God, I will persevere with everything I have. For finishing this race with you, receiving your crown of life is all that matters. You, are all that matters. Everything else will fade, but you are forever.
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This song, “Satisfied” by Jordan Feliz can by found in my Spotify Playlist, James.