“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8
I’ve been reflecting on these verses a bit lately. With so much uncertainty, confusion and distraction in the world, it’s little wonder we can easily find ourselves in two minds. One day we will have strong convictions, the next they are luke-warm at best. Our desires seem to go back and forth like a pendulum… this can be so emotionally draining. We get to the end of the week and are left frustrated at the lack of direction and productivity in our lives. How debilitating!!
With a world that can toss and turn us in so many direction, to have strong convictions and stay on course is a rare thing. However like faith, conviction is only as good as the object of it’s focus. We can have strong convictions on completely fruitless and eternally insignificant matters.
However when one gives their life to Christ, they are effectively saying that ‘I will have Jesus as the central focus of my life’, He will be captain of my heart, directing and inspiring me on the journey that God would have me travel. It’s a journey filled with many treacherous waters and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But it’s a journey that God calls us to travel… in His strength.
It never ceases to amaze me how distracted I can get from what God has for me, not to mention what he has blessed me with. Tonight I was holding my newly birthed daughter, Sienna, and I just got caught up in the splendor of God’s creative mastery. As I held her in my arms I felt overwhelmed with joy and gratitude with the blessing God had brought into my wife’s and my life. Then I felt reminded of the huge task that lay ahead, to watch over and raise my daughter. To reflect what Christ has done in my life so that she can see He is not some distant fantasy, but someone who brings about spiritual life, joy and hope.
Already there are waves crashing against the hull of my heart with our first son Caleb pushing us to the limit in trying to maintain optimum attention for himself. But just like Sienna, Caleb needs Chris’ and my guidence and protection as well. God has blessed us so much, but has given us the biggest and most daunting responsibility anyone can have…parenthood!
We all have things in our lives that tend to steer us astray, to open us up to going off course from the the destination God would have for us. At that point we need to ask ourselves: “Am I going to allow God to use me to make a difference for all eternity, or am I going to feed my selfish and idolatrous desires in order to get a short term emotional high.”
We will all face huge challenges, heartaches and struggles in our lives. Life is NEVER meant to be easy. ‘Life’ is simply our opportunity to turn to God and trust His sovereign and loving hand in our lives despite the circumstances that come our way. The shocking irony in life is that it’s often during the most challenging and soul depleting times in our lives that our faith and trust in God tends to grow the most. It’s when we persevere through these times with a steadfast mind and heart that we learn that God is faithful and does provide what we need to push on. Short term superficial happiness and pleasure will never lead to long term fulfilment. It will only lead to heartache and regret. Only a heart and mind that is completely focused on serving, living for and trusting in Christ will lead us to a spiritual joy that nothing else can even come close to.
Are you willing to step up to the plate and allow Jesus to captain your heart?!