I continually make the mistake of thinking I already know what a verse says when I read it’s location.
Take James 1:1-12, for example.
Hardships will happen, blah blah blah.
Have read it a zillion times. *slight exaggeration*
It popped up as my scripture to read this morning from A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People.
Greetings from James
1 This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad.
Faith and Endurance
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
9 Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
The version I read this morning is the New Living Translation.
Because I read it in the NLT, most likely for the first time, I believe that is why it spoke to me so. That and the fact that God is always trying to get my attention; pull me back in; hit me with a wake-up call.
Basically, I can sum up James 1:1-12 (NLT) in two words:
Divided loyalty. Where does my loyalty lie? With God or with the world. And what is “the world” by my own definition?
My loyalty truly is divided. I say one thing; do another. I say I love God and yet I am embracing the world I live in.
Particularly painful to me this morning was the recollection that just yesterday I had said to My Girl, “God calls us to be different from the world. When someone speaks to you or treats you unkindly, you are called not to respond in kind. You are to respond with a gentle word, no matter if it impacts them at that moment or ever.” *or something like that*
God calls us to be different from the world. Time I took my own advice.