“You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”
So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” -James 4:4-10 MSG
I love reading through the book of James. It strongly convicts me to dig deep and truly look at the messy things that have taken root in my heart. A lot of times I get so busy — going to the next event, building meaningful relationships within my network, preparing and being productive in my business & work. All those things are wonderful and good! But, if I don’t slow down to reflect upon what has happened throughout the week — the different stressors in my life, things that I shouldn’t have said or actions that I shouldn’t have done, or things that I need to implement more in my life (giving more thanks and a heart of gratitude) and things that I need to take out of my life... then I just breeze on by my own issues in life and start criticizing and critiquing everyone else.
When I start to tear down others or get critical of other’s actions, then I immediately know there’s a deeper issue. My speech, my thoughts, and my actions are such a reflection of what’s going on in my own heart, more so than the other person’s heart. It says that I haven’t tended to my own issues and stressors, so that’s why I’m being overcritical towards others. It says that I haven’t dealt with my own issue and faults, so I want to jump all over another person, deflecting my own issues so that I can feel better. The root of a lot of frustrations, pains, and anxiety for me — well... it’s pretty transparent and it can be almost difficult for me to accept, but the honest truth is simple... When I’m not spending time in prayer and surrendering areas of my heart, life, or people to the Lord... then I try to take everyone and everything on my shoulders and carry the weight of it all. Then, when I get exhausted, frustrated, and tired... I want to complain or blame others.
So, in order to get out of this cycle, I’ve got to plan for the next time... and this is a daily battle for me... sometimes I can be hard to deal with depending on if I’m stressed out... or other people can be really hard to deal with if I’m not connecting with their personality, so the struggle is real and I’ve got to come up with a daily battle plan to keep my own heart pure and filled with joy.😅😂 I’ve got to intentionally prepare my mind with prayer and God’s truth, and know how to overcome life’s unexpected circumstances/unknowns with God’s joy, peace, grace and unconditional love.
I love the book of James because it always encourages me to take a hard and long look at my open heart and pull up the toxic weeds that have no place in my heart. It challenges me to pull them up by the root and prune the garden of my heart every day!