I would say that we have a good understanding that our motives are as important as the things we ask for. We know that we need to ask for things with the right motives in our heart. But lets now take a look at what happens when we do not.
“But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death,” James 1:14-15. These are the results of the unsound thinking that leads to faulty motives. We run the risk of death when we are not focused on God, His love and His will. Now my personal take on this is that there are two ‘deaths’ that James is talking about. The first being the death of the spirit. Like I previously mentioned, continuing to operate with unchecked motives will lead for us to starve our spirit of The Spirit, as we will begin building barriers that will hinder God from working with us the way He wants to. Continue reading
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The second thing that is wrong with that scenario is that we will more than likely only benefit ourselves. That is not the will of God by any stretch of the term. We are to use our gifts, talents and blessings to help others. We are to use the things that God gave us in order to spread God’s love to others in ways they never expected. But if we continue to act out of selfishness with a ‘I must have more to help myself’ attitude, then we cannot complain about the dire straights of the world since we are not helping to alleviate the problem. Where is the love? Where is the compassion? Too often, generally speaking, we forget the very essence of the feeling when love comes from a random place. We should have that impact to someone, somewhere. But we would never be able to if we asked and then received things with faulty motives in our hearts.
The answer to this question is obviously both, depending on the circumstances and what have you. But I want focus in on the latter part of that query. Before I begin with that I want to briefly state that in order for us to properly interpret the Bible, we must continually keep things within their context. There are too many instances where misguided teaching and preaching take place because a statement or quote was ripped away from its context. The prime example of this is the willingness of Christians to submit to the ten commandments, when all they will do is bring destruction and spiritual death. But lets return to the question at hand.
So this is basically a hypothetical question geared towards making us think about two things; when we need or desire something do we always ask and when we ask for things do we make sure that are hearts are in the right place? As I mentioned earlier, the latter is what we will be focusing on in this post.
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How To Continually Pass Tests
Now that we have all of the background information that is necessary on this topic, we will shift our focus to executing what we need to do in order to continually pass these tests. Throughout this series of posts I have given tips and pointers provided by God’s word as to how we can know that we are able to be successful. It all starts with realizing that we are living with the Promise that was given to the individuals who only knew of it. We have Jesus and the knowledge that He has already done everything that is necessary for us to achieve great triumphs in the face of adversity. Continue reading
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The Result of Passing Tests
Now lets make sure that we have sound thinking as we dive through these concepts. In order for us to receive these certificates, we have to first make a passing grade on the test. So we sit down at our desks knowing that we have studied, meditated and put on the full armor of God. We are committed to walking in the love that He has provided for us. Doing these things destines us to pass whatever test is placed on our desk. There is no need for us to strategize on how to beat the test (marking ‘C’ for those answers we don’t know, eliminating answers because they form a pattern that is obviously wrong on the scantron, etc.) because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, guiding us. All we have to do is listen and obey.
“Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised those who love Him;” James 1:12. James spells out the result of for passing out tests pretty well here. If I had to sum it up in one word, the results are blessings. Continue reading
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Why Can We Have Joy in the Midst of Trials?
Being happy while suffering, strife and anguish are taking place is one of the most unfathomable mindsets to have to a person who has unsound, worldly thinking. Note that this is not to say that trials don’t hurt and that they don’t sometimes seem unfair, but that we are promised that if we just hold on and look to Him, remembering that His grace is sufficient, we can look at those problems with a smile on our face.
James tells us to “be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out evidence and steadfastness and patience,” James 1:3. He is telling us that each trial that we go through brings with it a certificate of authenticity for enduring the trouble. Our trials give us experience to where we know that God, and Him alone, was the reason we made it through our difficulties. Our trials make it so that we don’t have to look towards David, Abraham, Moses, Paul, Peter or anyone else because we would have our own experiences of His unwavering love for us. This is one reason why we can have joy. Continue reading