Google+ 01/14/14 Be Complete and Perfect in Christ!

James 1:2-4

 

Dear brothers and sisters,

When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed,

You will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

 

In part six of our ten-part devotion series entitled, "Whither or Grow...Our Choice!" we turn to James for some much-needed advice.  James, the half-brother of Jesus, had an interesting life.  As I have mentioned before, James never truly embraced Christ until AFTER His crucifixion.  That can be of much consolation for those of us that have taken a longer time to accept Christ as our personal Savior.  After all, James lived with Jesus.  Of all people, he should have know who Jesus was.  James was an integral part of Christ's church in Acts that Peter led.  It is never too late!  Most of our learning and growing in Christ comes from the perceived "troubles" that we have in our lives.  James says we should take every trouble and turn it into an opportunity for great joy.  If you are thinking that this could be one of the hardest things to do in our lives, you would be absolutely correct.  God can do it if we call on Him.  We need to develop what James calls our "endurance."  Paul talked about this concept in great detail.  It is not those that start the race that we should exalt.  It is those that finish the race that both James and Paul were talking about in the Scripture.  Claiming to be a Christian in this world is one thing.  It is deciding to start the race.  Living a Christian life is truly another, and this is what all of us struggle with each day.  I am so blessed by my congregation.  I get to watch people grow in Christ each day.  We fellowship in the temple DAILY!  We have an opportunity to be together as God's people every day.  As people show up in the temple each day, I watch their growth and the struggles, that each of us has, as we strive to finish the race.  It takes sacrifice.  Following Christ completely requires lifestyle changes and priority adjustments.  It requires doing what a young child in our congregation did for her parents recently.  She went to the family calendar, on the refrigerator, and wrote "church" on each day of the week, followed by the phrase "hint, hint!" Does it get anymore precious than that?!  James concludes by telling us that if we do these things, we will be perfect and complete and want for nothing.  James is right and I have seen it in my life and others of my flock.  I have also seen the converse to be true.  For those who choose a different path, peace is NEVER present.  They struggle with calendars and conflicts.  They are always too "busy" for God and the important things in life.  Unfortunately, I watch these people slip away from God and struggle with any genuine relationship that He demands.  Please listen to James, because truer words could not be spoken.  Don't just start the race, go 200 feet, and stop.  Finish the race and "Be Complete and Perfect in Christ!"