James 1:1-4 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, 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.
Why Do We Encounter Challenges? Testing causes us to move past our comfort zones. It makes us find out more about who God created us to be. Testing of our faith causes us to flex our “spiritual muscles”.
Likewise, trials build our faith so that we become “prepared” for new things we are faced with in our lives.
Today, we will focus on three parts of becoming spiritually prepared:
1) Be Equipped 2) Be Elevated 3) Be an Example
First, we must study God’s word to learn from the examples of those who endured hardships, trials, and temptations. For example, we can learn what not to do from the Israelites, how to walk out our purpose from Paul, and many others. We can use their positive and negative experiences to help us prepare for times we may find ourselves in similar situations.
Be Elevated We must come up in our mindset (hearts). Proverbs 23:7 says,”As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. We have to make a conscious decision to stand by what we have learned in the word of God. So, when trials do come, our minds will be made up to do God’s will. Then, we must be proactive by already having our hearts fixed on what godly actions we will take. This will reduce the making of wrong decisions and become disciplined in our faith walk. Like Daniel, he made up his mind to do the right thing.
Be an Example When we walk in the confidence of what we have learned in the Word of God, it makes us billboards of victory. The more we prepare for a challenge beforehand, the more our faith is increased when we come face to face with it. As a result of faith, our God is glorified. When He is glorified, we set ourselves and others up to be blessed. David went to battle in faith and not in his own strength because he believed in the power of the God he served. Likewise, we can come face to face with challenges (giants) in our lives in the same spirit of authority.
Reflect: What is God preparing you for in the new year? What have you experienced and learned this year that will help you in the next part of your life?
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