Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sharing My Bible Study: James 4

A dear reader, she didn't mention her name, just "A Sister in Christ from USA" notified me that the pictures from my older posts have become un-accesible. Thank you, Sister in Christ! I had a problem with Photobucket, but now it's been resolved. At least for now. So the pictures are now back again!

Hello, Friends!

If you are a Christian like me, how often do you open the Bible to find solace and comfort, and instead stumble upon firm words? Well, that happened to me more than once! I'm in the middle of a bad day, I'm running to the Bible looking for a quick fix, and guess what, the Lord box my ears instead, scolding me!

Let me share with you one particular occassion, which I think is very apt, since I'm reading The Book of James this week.

Here I was, after having a bad day, or bad months, I forgot (it's funny how some trials that we felt so heavy at that time, felt so mundane and even forgotten when we look back at it, huh), whining and complaining and sniffling and pouring my heart out to the Lord. After I said everything it was needed to be said, I was like "OK, Lord, I'm done. Now it's your turn. Please say something nice and comforting, and please leave this burden and problem from me."

I opened the Bible in random, and stumbled upon James 4. Heigh ho! If you ever read The Book of James, you would have known that St. James was one firm, no-nonsense, straigh-to-the-point, sharp as an arrow, kind of writer.

This was the first verse I laid my eyes on:

Ouch! They said that the truth shall set you free, but more often than not, the truth is not so sweet afterall! It's like the Lord said to this spoiled brat: "Hey, kiddo. You coveted for things that you should not have because they are wrong for you at this moment, that's why you suffer! And now you pout like a little child who doesn't get his portion of candy. I am God, and I don't like your attitude!"

Ouch. Again. Now I'm casting my eyes down like a little child who is being scolded by his parents. And yes, the Lord is our Heavenly Father. I knooooooowwwwww..... I wanted something. I wanted something so bad that I pushed God to give it to me. It could be anything: a new house, a husband, success, going to a long-awaited concert, for higher number of sales, increase of salary, whatever. And when we don't get it instantly, we stomp our feet and shout to God: "I prayed! Why don't you give me what I want? I already prayed/went to Mass/fasted/gave alms to the poor/etc. so in return I demand that You give me what I want!"

Does that impudent whining sounds familiar? Well, I don't know about you, but I did it so many times.

Now, think of it this way. Who are we to demand anything from the Lord? Who are we to bargain with the Lord? Who are we that we feel if we something for God, then He is entitled to pay us with something that we want in return? And who are we that we feel like God has the task to cater to our every whim NOW, on our schedule? Is He the Lord God, our creator, and not our subordinate who is supposed to do everything we ask on schedule? Who is the creator of Heaven and Earth? You or Him? Who is the Father? You or Him?

That should be clear enough. No explanation needed to explain the inappropiateness of our behavior. Yet how many times have we prayed something like this: "Please Lord, if you give me this deal/promotion/a boyfriend/pay raise/etc. I will donate USD XXX for charity/pray three rosaries." Hmmmm... I think the creator of Heaven or Earth don't need our measley money or whatever it is we can give Him. I mean, doesn't everything we have came from Him?

Now the second part that caught my attention.

Submit. Resist the devil. Come near to God. Purify yourself. Lament for your sins. Be humble.

I would highlight: "Lament for your sins."

Let's pretend that you are a parent who is having dinner with your son. You told him, "If you finish your salad, I will give you cookie." Not only the son didn't finish his salad, he intentionally toppled down his plate full with nutritious salad that you have painstakingly prepared for him. Then he said: "I want my cookie."

How would you react?

Most likely you will say, "No cookie for you. You have misbehaved. Now, say you're sorry."
Imagine the child pouting, stomping his feet and said: "No way! I want my cookie. NOW!"

That's painful to admit, but I was that disobedient, impudent child. More than once. Many, many times.

I won't even ask forgiveness for my sins, first. Instead, I expect God will give me a quick fix. I opened the Bible hoping to find something comforting, THEN God will give me what I want, because, well, I prayed and read the Bible, didn't I? I was being good, wasn't I?

Well, it's like God, the parent say: "No, child. No cookie for you. I have told you to eat your vegetables, but you didn't. Instead, you toppled down your plate and made a big mess. Now, say you're sorry. Then, together we will clean up this mess. But still, no cookie for you until next meal. IF you finish your vegetable as I said you should."

God said, "Say you are sorry, Daughter. Repent for your sins, first. Then we'll clean up the mess you created, together. But you've gotta be sorry first, whether or not you will get the cookie."

"Dear Lord,
I have misbehaved. I have disobeyed You and was being selfish.
I ask for forgiveness. Please forgive my sins and my weaknesses.
Please help me to start anew and do better, so I won't do the same mistake again.
Please stand by my side and may I be stronger and wiser and grow from these trials.
May this experience makes me become closer to You.
I am so ashamed of my sins.
Please forgive this impudent child of Yours.
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies:




4 comments: said...

"whether or not you get the cookie"...I think that's the place we strive for in our walk of faith. Oh to be settled in our hearts and right with Christ whether we get what we want or not. Grateful for your reflection on His word today.I'm visiting from #TellHisStory

Laura Connell said...

I have also been rebuked by the book of James. It was about gossip: "the tongue is a fire..." How the tongue is the smallest member and causes the most damage. Love the book of James! No sugar coating :)

CynthiaJSwenson said...

Your reflections on these verses are delightfully honest, the same with your prayer! Yes, the Lord "disciplines those He loves" & we would do well to receive His discipline with humility & repentance, as you suggest. Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

Pamela said...

Sometimes I feel loved most of all when God is "correcting" me. I'm so thankful He does. Certainly there is kindness in His discipline. It makes it easier to ask for forgiveness, doesn't it? James has "spoken to me" more than once.

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