Justifying ourselves in the midst of adversity
Have you ever found yourself in a really hard place, physically, emotionally and even spiritually and thought to yourself, “well I am drowning anyway, so what would be the harm to do …. Or say ….. or feel ….. ?”
That is what I was hit with yesterday when I went to church; my husband and I are currently walking through the unknown territory of Cancer at the moment, as he has recently been diagnosed and to be honest it is the hardest road that we have ever had to travel as a couple before.
Our life together could be over before we know it, and it is a scary thought.
In the midst of this great trial in our lives I believe that God has been sharing with us some fundamental truths in order to navigate through this rough time and on Sunday when I went to church this was another one of those truths that he wanted to get through to me.
The pastor was teaching from the book of James, the first chapter, Read it below and then we will get into what I believe the pastor and God was teaching me.
James 1:1 – 16
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.
Lessons from this Passage:
- As a Christian I must consider it pure joy when I do under go trials and tests as it strengthens my faith in Christ Jesus and it develops perseverance.(You might be thinking to yourself as you read that statement, Yeah Right! But I have found that in the midst of this great trial, I have not only experienced a peace that I cannot explain, but great joy as well, as I know that God is the one who is fighting for us, he is the one that is leading the way and He knew that this would happen one day, and in his great love for my husband and I, has been preparing us spiritually for a long time, to be able to walk through it. Therefore I can confidently feel joy as I walk through this trial.)
- If we undergo trials it is to produce in us a maturity that only comes from having walked through something that was really hard. (Christ’s ultimate goal is to make us Christ like. He wants us to reflect him, lean on him, learn to go to him when things are both good and bad. He wants us to develop good character, so that the world around us will see that he lives within us. The unbelievers are watching the believers, and they will recognize when we handle situations differently than they do.)
- If I lack wisdom while going through this trial I can ask God for it and he will give it to me liberally.
- When I ask for the wisdom for my situation, I must not doubt that God will give it to me, sometimes God’s wisdom for a situation may look completely different to the wisdom that we would have thought was needed for that situation, but we need to trust that he who can see the future and what is best for us, knows exactly what we need.
- When I have persevered through the trial I will have received the crown of life as my great reward that is eternal life. This is a great incentive to get through the trials of life in a way that is pleasing to God, as we know that he has an internal inheritance waiting for us.
- When we are tempted to sin in the midst of the trial that we face, we should not think that it is God who is tempting us to sin; he can never do that, nor would he.
- If we find ourselves in sin during this time, it is because we have allowed our sinful and evil desires to lead us down that path. We need to remember that sin when given a foothold in our lives gives birth to death, plain and simple; it leads us to the path of destruction.
The pastor spoke on all of the facets of facing trials in our lives, that we should expect it, because we live in a fallen world. That it produces maturity in us as believers and that we can ask for wisdom in the midst of it all so that we will be able to understand God’s perfect will for us in the midst of the difficult situation.
Then he reminded us that we cannot allow ourselves to justify any kind of sin, when we are in the midst of a trial.
This truth hit me like a ton of bricks.
I realized that it is so easy for us, to justify sin, when we are in a hard place. For instance, if I was poor, I could justify stealing something because my situation was rough, poor and hard.
I felt the need to prepare my heart, so that I would guard against this happening to me as I walk with my husband on this road.
For instance, one way that I can easily fall into sin, is feeling sorry for myself, or allowing the situation to become too overwhelming, or even getting mad at God and blaming him for my misfortune.
The truth of the matter is that God said that there will be trials, and that he will never leave me, nor forsake me. That he will provide for me and his grace and love will be sufficient for me, regardless of how rough the road is.
Now for me to go off into a self-pity party would be sin. I know that there will be times where I will be tempted to go into the woe is me party, but I want to walk with integrity and honor through this trial, so that when I have stood the test, I will gain the crown of life that God has promised for all those whom he loves.
I am sure that as we walk along this particular path, there will be many temptations along the way to fall into sin, but to guard against falling into the trap of those temptations, I will need to keep in prayer, reading my bible, allowing God to fight for me and trusting him that even though those temptations come if I surrender my heart to him completely he will help me through.
I want to encourage you that if you find yourself in a tough spot at the moment, know that God knows where you are at, he knows the difficulties that you are facing and know that you are loved by him.
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.
I want to be like the man in proverbs that walks securely because he has integrity, he can have confidence because none of his ways are devious and so can stand with confidence before the lord even in the midst of a great trial.
My prayer for you is that when you face a trial in your life that you will look to the lord to be your refuge and strong hold. I pray that he will strengthen you and enable you to recognize any traps that would lead to you be tempted to sin against him. I pray that he will grow your faith in him and that you will walk out of the trial, stronger in faith than ever.
Filed under: Our new Journey