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Food for Thought - Musings

Examination of Life using James 1

Examination of Life using James 1

 

Here is an aid to help you to explore with God a number of areas in your life. It is a way to open your life and heart to God in the spirit of Ps 139:23-24; “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

 

Remember, this is NOT about condemnation and that there is NOTHING that can separate you from the love of God. This is about cultivating an awareness that helps you better partner with what God is doing in and through you.


Take your time. Sit with each of the sections opening to God with unedited honesty, asking God for eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is showing you, communicating to you.

 

In the world you will have tribulation

 

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

 

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. 

 

What are the current struggles/trials you are dealing with? What is your attitude toward these struggles/trials? Share your struggles/trials with God asking God to help you to embrace them with joy, to know God’s strength in your weakness, and to own the truth that God will use them in your life in life-giving and life-enhancing ways for God’s glory and the advancement of God’s kingdom.

 

Wisdom from Above

 

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (also James 3:17)

 

What is the wisdom you are desiring from God? Take some time to be still and prayerfully seek God’s wisdom.

 

Who are you?

 

9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they 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. 

 

How do you see yourself—in humble circumstances or rich? What is the attitude God is asking you to cultivate in your current position? If you are rich what does humility look like? If you are in humble circumstances what does it look like to take pride in that “high position”? 

 

God provides way of escape

 

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. 

 

What are you currently dealing with in terms of temptations? What encouragement and help is expressed in the following passage; No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Cor 10:13)? Share your struggles with God asking for wisdom to see and take the ways of escape from temptations God provides?

 

Gratitude

 

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. 

 

What are the things you are currently grateful for—the good gifts (big/small) that you have received (make a list)? Spend time giving thanks to God.

 

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

 

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 

 

What are those things, who are those people, that currently seem to easily ignite anger in you? What buttons (internal messages/expectations) are those things/people pushing? What steps can you take to slow down the eruption of anger? How can you instead be quick to listen, slow to speak? 

 

Doers of Word

 

21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

 

What truths has God been communicating to you that you need to internalize in a deeper way (even in this time)?

 

Words of my mouth

 

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. (also James 3:3-6)

 

How are you doing with controlling your tongue in areas of complaining, gossiping, lying, criticizing, bad mouthing? How are you doing regarding speaking those words that give edification, encourage, challenge according to the need of the moment? How are you doing when it comes to speaking the truth is love—full of grace and truth? Share your struggles with God.

 

Least of these

 

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

 

How are you doing in the areas of caring for orphans, widows, the marginalized and disinherited? How may God be inviting you to love these individuals/groups in deed and in truth? How are you doing at being in the world but not unduly influenced by the world?

 

Final Reflection

 

As you spent time reflecting through James 1 what have you sensed God asking you to continue/begin to pay attention to?  What are areas you may sense God inviting you to work on? What are the areas you sensed God’s well done around (not that you can’t grow but are doing good or better in)? 

 

What are you desiring from God in this next season? 

 

 

Craft a prayer expressing your heart and desires to God.


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