LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Sunday, December 17, 2006

James 1:2-4 - Reid Ferguson

Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture James 1.2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you
meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the
testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And
let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be
perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The biggest problem you and I face in terms of our
spiritual growth, is not temptation or sin. At least
not in the sense we ordinarily think of it. In truth
the biggest problem most Christians face is a lack
steadfastness. Irregularity. Hit and miss spirituality.
On-again-off-again, hot and cold, up and down,
sporadic spirituality. Nothing more undermines true
spiritual progress and growth in the likeness of
Christ than the lack of consistency. Or in the words
of our text, steadfastness.

The argument most often
proffered against steadfastness however, is in fact a
categorical error. If it is suggested that one needs to
read their Bible daily, pray daily, worship with the
saints regularly and witness to others of God's
saving grace – the immediate response is – "what!
are you a legalist?" But of course that has nothing
whatsoever to do with it. If your doctor told you
you have to eat, drink, sleep and exercise to stay
alive the response wouldn't be that. Why not?
Because in physical terms, we understand that
while none of those things creates life, they are how
life is sustained. And it is exactly so with our
spiritual lives. If we were to suggest that one earns
God's favor by such things, or that our salvation is
the result of them – THAT, would be legalistic.
You ought rightly recoil at the thought. But what is
being talked about here, is the nature of sustaining
and maintaining one's health – supporting and
growing in the life you have been given by grace.
And nothing, nothing is more central to that growth
and the experience of the ability to obtain joy in the
midst of trials than steadfastness. This is why the
current trend of endless lists of techniques and
steps to cure loneliness or heartache or anxiety so
consistently fail. You tell me, how many sets of
steps and techniques can you digest and have at the
ready at all times to meet each circumstance? You
can't. Fresh trials and challenges require a fresh
supply, poured into us daily, and providentially
provided when we CONSTISTENTLY, and
STEADFASTLY look to His counsel in His Word,
His intervention in prayer, His provision for
encouragement in the saints, His presence by His
Spirit quickening all to us each day. You cannot, I
repeat you cannot just go, find in Scripture the best
strategy for dealing with temptation, and then log it
internally to bring out on any occasion. We must
receive it in humble, deliberate, daily, conscious,
steadfast reliance upon Him in the present. This is
living in the Spirit. Anything else, is religicized
self-help. --

4 Comments:

Blogger bluecollar said...

Thanks, Pastor Reid

December 17, 2006 12:13 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Very, very good stuff. I like your pastor. :)

Also, Mark, if you're interested, I'd love to hook you up with the series on Ecclesiastes that my pastor just finished today. We've been in this book since July, take a few weeks for a few different teachings. But studying this book has had a profound effect on me. I'd love your thoughts on some of it.

December 17, 2006 3:43 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Sounds like a good pastor. Reads like one too.

December 17, 2006 9:53 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Mark,
Good point by your Pastor. It reminds me of this verse in John.
John 15:4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I hope things are going well and that you and your family enjoy peace and joy for Christmas.

December 17, 2006 11:01 PM

 

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