Thank you for my life and all the challenges. Challenges I have overcome and will overcome. I am asking that You use this post to bless someone. Allow the readers to find a sense of comfort in your Almighty power. It is my prayer that you will continue nurture and mature us as believers so that we can break cycles of sin, and continue to claim victory over the enemy in Jesus name, Amen.
Kevin Durant shared the passage of scripture below with a Christian media source saying that it is one of his new found favorite verses. I wanted to share it with you all because it blessed me so much. I pray it does that same for you. James 1:2-4 says:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4/MSG)
Take a moment to think about what this passage of scripture means to you. It is clear that James valued the importance of adversity. He starts his book of the Bible encouraging us to consider it a “gift” when we are experiencing “tests and trials” from “all sides”. Focused on trying to make money for rent, health issues arise, car breaks down, and to top it off you got furloughed last week, the Bible says count it a gift! Wow!
James’ message encourages Christians to embrace “the smoke”. To embrace the circumstances or challenges that cause us to be “against the odds”. James says adverse situations will force us to show who we really are in Christ. Where our level of faith truly is. It seems to me like James is encouraging believers to fight through the adversity or smokey points in our life presents with confidence in God’s faithfulness. Allowing our hope and confidence in the Holy Spirit to be our comfort. Ultimately, strengthening our faith for the next match with the enemy.
Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen”. If we analyze James 1:2-4 and Hebrews 11:1, I think it is important to insert the definition of faith. In James 1:2-4 the passage says “you know that under pressure your faith-[substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen]-life is forced into the open and it shows its true colors”. This really gets me fired up!
James is saying when tests and challenges come we have the following choices:
1) have faith in God
2) have faith in self
3) have faith in something or someone other than God.
It is so easy to have faith in ourselves. Faith in self looks very controlling. Refusing to give control to God often manifests itself in complaints, sulking, becoming determined to solve the problem on our own, or becoming weary. Why is it so difficult to trust God, who is our creator and creator of the universe? Why is it so difficult to see Gods hand in adverse times like COVID-19? Perhaps, it is because we’re distracted by the way the situation makes us feel. Maybe we do not actually believe. Maybe we’re distracted trying to figure out which friend/family member will be our vessel to overcoming whatever smokey situation we’re in. Distracted by trying to figure out why God would allow this to happen and what the outcome will be. We must be vigilant to the distractions our flesh gravitate to out of habit.
In the midst of our most challenging situations, I challenge you to shift your thinking from Distraction Focused: “How am I going to get out of this”, “Why is this happening to me”, “Where is God during all of this”, “How God gon’ let this happen man” to Faith Focused: “God I am giving this situation to You”, “God what are You trying to teach me during this situation”, “What can I do to glorify You during this situation”, “God I know You got me”.
The challenges we are presented with in life should be viewed as an opportunity to partner with God. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted too long by internal or external stimuli when we’re facing the challenges of life. This prolongs the work that God is doing in us and could potentially put us in a cycle of dysfunction. I want to stop the cycle of dysfunction in my life, sooner rather than later. With God by my side, I want ALL THE SMOKE. And I am praying this post empowers you to EMBRACE THE SMOKE with more confidence that the [True and Living] God is going to bring you out of whatever situation you’re going through victorious.
To God Be All The Glory,