“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.”
“There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon men: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them; this is vanity; it is a sore affliction.”
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.”
“The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
Desire has to be one of the strongest things we wrestle with in life. We desire to look good to those around us, to have money, possessions, and status. I can find myself envying and coveting what other people have in their lives and then when I take a step back wonder why do I feel this way? That is their life and this is my life, the life that God gave me. The body that God gave me. The skills and job that God gave me. This precious life that God gave me. Yet I can forget these many blessings and still desire things I do not have. In the scheme of life to what end does this desire lead me? Life can be very simple but at times we seem to go out of our way to add difficulty to it.
Desire is good when kept in check. It can motivate us to grow and improve and become a better person. But it is a two edged sword: it can also become a hunger that is never satisfied and we try to feed it even at the cost of our spouse, children, friends. Our desire can turn into lust and we try to feed that lust at any cost. Our pride motivates us to say, “I am worth this”, or “I deserve this”, and we justify our actions. And so, where does it end? Let us not lose our focus of what really is important in life: to love God and seek His kingdom and to love our neighbour as ourself. The desires of this world are fleeting and empty in so many ways and can cause the loss of those we love the most. Let us be honest with ourselves, analyze our motives and not give into our temptations.
May our desire this day be to serve God and not our flesh.
Subject: Daily Bible Message – Do Not Doubt
Date: September-16-10 8:49:32 AM
Do Not Doubt
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting. Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord. Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.”
James wrote these words between AD 42 – 62 to Christian Jews who were scattered around Asia. His words were a foreshadowing of a greater dispersion that was about to take place in AD 70 under Roman rule. The Jewish world was about to fall apart. In his letter, James was encouraging his brethren to be strong in the face of trial, and to be of singular mind when it comes to having faith in God. Many of his readers had great worldly wisdom but James was telling them to seek the spiritual wisdom that would help them to endure trial.
We too need to take this message to heart. We are told to seek spiritual wisdom and not doubt when we ask God for something. James says the man who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. Do you feel tossed and driven one way and then another? Where is your stability? Where is your faith in God?
Do you believe that He is working in your life or is He a back-up plan that you pull out when things get tough? Do you feel like that wave: troubled, restless, unsettled, impatient? Like that wave are you rising in hope and sinking in despair? We are told to ask and believe that God will act. The outcome from a worldly perspective may not always be what we are looking for but is it this transient world we are seeking or an eternal kingdom?
We are told not to be double-minded. We cannot have our mind in two camps (flesh and spirit), which are at odds. Proverbs 3:5-8 sums it very well. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”
May we be of one mind and faithfully trust in God no matter how desperate our situation. May we choose our course, trusting that God will guide us as He has all His people throughout every generation.