Once a week, I'll do a 'deeper dive' with one of the posts for those that want to explore when, where and how Biblical scripture informs everyday decisions.
I suspect you'll be surprised at how relevant these ancient texts are to the challenges we face today.
Look for links in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday posts or just hop on over to this page and have a look at the latest editions.
As always, let me know what you think.
With love and light,
Starting something new is a big deal. At least, it is a big deal for me. This is how the process progresses typically.
First, there is a trigger that starts the cascade of change. Sometimes it’s a slow, simmering feeling of restlessness or boredom that underlies the need for something new. Most of us don’t love change so we might just ignore this until that slow simmer gathers energy and becomes a full rolling boil.
Other times, we might have a sudden, unexpected catalyst appear in our lives that blows things up and demands immediate change. No matter how we get there, this is the point when we KNOW we have to make some changes.
By definition, doing something new requires newfound wisdom. We read books, we search the Internet, we seek out experts and sometimes we pray about it. This step not only gives us the knowledge we need, but also the confidence required to take the next step.
Finally, we need to apply that wisdom and get after our new venture.
This is where the wheels often fall off for me and why this scripture has become such a great guidepost for me:
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.
First, let me give you a little of the backstory about this scripture and its author. James was Jesus’ brother and he was ministering to Jewish Christians in the Mediterranean. These First Century Christians were getting hammered by their detractors and they needed encouragement. James was a man of action. He didn’t have much patience for those who talked a good game, but when it came down to it, their behavior didn’t match up with their rhetoric. He was laying out an action plan to help these Jewish Christians through this rough time. He doesn't mince his words.
He encourages them to go to God to get the answers and information they need to spread Christianity throughout the Mediterranean and tells them that God isn’t going to judge them or criticize them for not knowing what to do in this new situation. He assures them that God will give them the knowledge they need.
And here is where it hits me hardest…James says that when you ask, you have to be ALL IN. Believe and don’t doubt. Trust what God gives you in answer to prayer and DO WHAT GOD GUIDES YOU TO DO. If you let doubt creep in and undermine your ability to take action, you become, “…like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
In this particular scripture, there are three key takeaways I want to shine a bright light on for you here:
- God has an open door policy with us. The welcome mat is out. He wants us to come to Him when we need help and when we do, we enter into a judgement-free zone.
- When you come to God looking for advice, be prepared to stay firmly rooted in faith and believe what God guides you to do. It might not make sense to you. It might not be what you wanted to hear. It might seem impossible to you, but with God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27).
- Take action. Follow through. Stay in faith. You’re being guided in a particular direction for a reason. When we ignore God’s prompting for whatever reason, it's easy to get pretty beat-up by life.
Here’s an example. I have a great friend named Jack. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a successful Wall Street trader. The job was very lucrative, but Jack absolutely hated it. What he really enjoyed was working with wood and he was gifted in this. But he set this passion aside so he could bring home the big bucks. Every day was a grind for him. He was miserable. Long hours at work kept him from his wife and kids, the people he loved the most. And when he was with them, he was so joyless and miserable that his relationships with them became strained and distant. He started drinking too much and putting on weight due to his lavish client dinners he was constantly compelled to participate in. Not only was his Spirit sagging, his body started to feel the impact of pursuing the wrong vocation. Jack continued to ignore all the promptings he felt with such certainty to leave Wall Street and create a life he really loved until he finally suffered a massive heart attack. That was his wake up call.
It took years of being like a wave tossed and blown by the wind as he steadfastly ignored God’s guidance to make a change and it nearly killed him.
Happily, Jack finally followed the God nudge to pursue his love of wood working. He and his family moved to a sweet Connecticut town where Jack spends his days as a master craftsman. Each piece of furniture Jack makes is a work of art. He is happy, healthy and well. His marriage is back on track and he’s finally able to spend time being a father who is present and dedicated to his kids. He’s making a comfortable living as a craftsman, and most importantly, he is living the life he was made for.
Are there areas in your life that need change? Maybe it’s time to try asking God for the wisdom you need to make some changes. Start with something small and let this scripture be your guide. You might be surprised and delighted by where it takes you.
With love and light,