Do you need help in making choices each day?
In this study we will look into the Word of God for help in making choices.
I will use Scripture taken from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for our study.
We will be doing our study in the 1st chapter of the book of James.
We’ll start with verse 2:
James 1:2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.
Did anyone encounter a trial or fall into a temptation today?
Did you consider it wholly joyful when it happened?
We know that “Joy” is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Is it not the intent of the enemy to steal that joy from us so that we look unhappy and hopeless to those around us? Robbing us of our powerful
witness to a lost world of people?
As a Christian, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us always. The Holy Spirit enables us to produce the fruit of “Joy” in spite of the circumstances we find ourselves. In the following two verses we see
the work accomplished in us by the Holy Spirit:
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
Galatians 5:23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].
We can allow “Joy” to be evident in our lives if we choose to. As we read the next couple of verses, I want you to watch for the “fruit” and see if you notice something new. Be sure to read these verses with fresh eyes and expectation.
We now go back to the book of James:
James 1:3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
James 1:4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
Did you notice it?
The trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
The easiest one to see is “Patience” because we know it to be a “fruit” of the Holy Spirit already.
Could we also say that steadfastness is “Faithfulness”? Isn’t that also a “fruit” of the Holy Spirit?
And could we say that endurance is “Self-Control” which is also a “fruit” of the Holy Spirit?
When trials and temptation come into our lives we have a choice to make. We can see those challenges as an obstacle or as a stepping stone to victory.
If we choose to see them as stepping stones to victory the “fruit” of Joy will be produced in our lives. By exercising faith in these trials and temptation we will increase the fruit of “Patience”, “Self-Control” and “Faithfulness” as well.
Umm… do any of you want more Patience, Self-Control and Faithfulness in your life?
In fact in verse 4 we read that these three will make us people perfectly and fully developed, lacking in nothing.
Can we have joy in trials and temptation unless we have already determined and made up our minds to choose what is right?
If we make up our minds to do what is right, aren’t we obeying the Lord’s will? Isn’t this simply a choice we need to make each day?
Is it possible that when we see trials and temptations as something other than things that can help us and bring us joy… that we deny the operation of the Holy Spirit working within us to help us grow spiritually? A choice we can make every day.
It’s worth thinking about isn’t it?
James continues to give us advice:
James 1:5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.
James 1:6 Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.
James 1:7 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,
James 1:8 [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].
We need to ask God for wisdom don’t we. It’s a choice we can make each day. To go to God and ask for wisdom to handle everything.
We must ask in faith. Believing that God will give wisdom liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding to those who ask.
We see that if we doubt, we will not be given anything we ask for from the Lord.
Here again this is a choice we can make each day. To ask God in faith. Trusting that He will be true to His nature and give us what we need.
Isn’t this the choice? Ask in faith and receive wisdom. Ask without faith and never receive wisdom.
What other choices can we find?
James 1:9 Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his elevation [as a Christian, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God],
James 1:10 And the rich [person ought to glory] in being humbled [by being shown his human frailty], because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.
James 1:11 For the sun comes up with a scorching heat and parches the grass; its flower falls off and its beauty fades away. Even so will the rich man wither and die in the midst of his pursuits.
We learn that those who have so little can rejoice in being made heirs of God. That they have been given true riches in Christ.
We also learn that those who are rich can learn that they dare not trust in their riches. But rather rejoice in being shown their human frailty. The riches they have accumulated will mean nothing to them when they die. That they are spiritually poor and need God. Their earthly riches will pass away so quickly.
These are choices we can make each day. To be joyful of our inheritance through Jesus Christ, and to not be deceived into trusting in worldly riches, but to trust in the provisions that God gives us each day.
James 1:12 Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor's] crown of life
which God has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one.
James 1:14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).
James 1:15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death.
We read these verses and as we think about them, we become aware that it is within our ability to withstand temptation and not allow it to entice us to sin.
That is not popular today. Instead it is more common for someone to say to us… “don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re only human”.
I don’t believe the Word of God teaches us that.
We see that we are enticed by our own evil desire. We give in to temptation because we really want the thrill or pleasure of sin. But that so called thrill is so short lived. Then comes the pain and suffering from the consequences of our actions.
Shouldn’t we be overcomers in Christ Jesus instead?
In verse 13, we are informed that God tempts no one. God hates sin. Since we have been adopted into the Kingdom of God. Shouldn’t we hate sin like God does?
How can it be that Jesus died to save us from our sins and the horror of the penalty of sin, and then think He will look the other way as we sink into the bondage of sin again?
Brothers and sisters… this should never be. We can not excuse and tolerate sin any longer. Something has gone dreadfully wrong. It has become easy to justify wrong behavior. Society today longs for heroes. Someone who will do right no matter what and give them hope that it’s possible to overcome.
Haven’t we been set apart.. consecrated for holy living? Aren’t we supposed to be representatives for Christ in this world?
If Jesus Christ was standing right beside us all throughout the day, would we choose the same way we normally do?
Look at the next verses:
James 1:16 Do not be misled, my beloved brethren.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or
shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].
James 1:18 And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself].
That we should be a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself. Can we do anything we want and still be what He wants us to be? We were set apart to show others how to live the right way weren’t we?
James 1:19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.
James 1:20 For man's anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].
James 1:21 So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.
James 1:22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].
Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.
Isn’t that saying don’t be selfish, rather put others first in front of our own desires?
Man’s anger doesn’t promote righteousness. Doesn’t anger usually come because we are offended? Do we get offended by putting self first?
There is only One who deserves to be First in our lives. He redeemed us with His own blood.
Get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness.
Aren’t we being urged to turn away from what is not right?
Be doers of the Word. As we read these verses, do we promptly forget what we just read?
James 1:25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).
There is an old Hymn. Trust and Obey
“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
The hymn writer got it right, didn’t he.
Brothers and sisters.. when we look carefully into God’s Word, are faithful to it and persevere in looking into it, we have to heed what God’s message is and be an active doer of the Word.
We shall be blessed if we are obedient to it.
It’s a choice we need to make. When we fail, let us help each other to get back up by encouraging and loving one another.
If we don’t choose to live for Jesus… who will?
Will you choose to? Today? Tomorrow?
Count the victories each day. Rejoice when you overcome even one temptation. Grow as you choose each day to obey the Lord. You will be blessed if you will do it.
Bible Study by InAwe