January 20, 2024
James 1:2-5, New Living Standard
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
When you grab a tube of toothpaste and squeeze it, what comes out? Toothpaste!
Why? Because that’s what is in the tube.
What would happen if every time you were squeezed, or shaken Jesus came out? When you stub your toe, rather than a sling of curse words, the nature of Jesus is evident. When a lady pulls in front of you when she should have waited, rather than frustration, patience, love, and sincere prayer comes out of your mouth.
The issue is not will I be squeezed. You will be. The issue is, what is coming out of us when we are squeezed?
When there is a shaking, these things are established:
Who you are.
What do you know?
Are you someone who is firmly planted in Jesus? Do you remain calm, or do you go off the deep end and hate life? Do you remember all the promises of God and everything He has done for you in the past, or do you give in to fear, frustration, anger and forget everything the Word of God says. Do you pray more and seek God more, or do you turn from Him and blame Him?
There have been times in the past where when I have been shaken, I, unfortunately didn't respond the way that I should. It was those times that made me realize that I have to trust the Lord and what He is doing.
Spiritual warfare is real. Struggles in your Christian life are real. Those times bring you to a point: do you believe or do not believe?
Tests expose what is in you and where your trust truly lies. They aren’t meant to harm you, but to sanctify you so that you’ll become more like Jesus Christ.
Even after you put your faith in Jesus there is still a lot of work to be done. Thankfully, God is gracious and refines us little by little. He doesn’t expect us to show all the fruit of the Spirit immediately. He knows that it takes time. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula. The primary way God helps us grow in love, patience, kindness, etc … is by placing us in situations that require us to develop and exercise those characteristics.
When God places you in a difficult situation do you run back to old habits and mindsets, and do you respond in a way that doesn't please God? Or do you run to God for guidance? Any characteristic we possess that isn’t Christ-like needs to be removed.
How do you respond to circumstances that test your faith? Do you immediately give up, or do you fix your eyes on Jesus? Don't let trials turn you away from faith in God. Don't let the tests make your heart grow cold. Call on the Lord for help and rely on His strength. Remember the reward that waits for you in Jesus.
Whatever is inside is what comes out when it’s squeezed.
If you are a tube of toothpaste, under the pressures and circumstances of life, what is being squeezed out of you? My prayer for you and me, is that it is Jesus and Jesus only, Jesus always.