"When was the last time scripture changed you?" A thought-provoking question from the James Bible study. My friend, Sherrie shared her answer with me and I thought it was so deliberate and so compelling that I asked if I could share it with you. I pray that her words touch you and if you leave a comment, I will make sure she receives it.
When was the last time scripture changed you?by Sherrie FinchWhen I first began writing out the entire book of James, as part of an assignment from my current Bible Study entitled; "James, Mercy Triumphs," I felt at first that I was doing it out of obligation, and it was yet just another assignment from which I'd learn from, but come away from only remembering portions. Then reality set in & His truth opened my eyes!You see... I was living as if I had no timeline...and the only obligation I had was to finish this week’s lesson. You see I was a table leader for my group and what would that look like if I did not do the homework Beth has assigned...?The 5 levels of participation Beth spoke of had me doing all 5....
- Watch the videos (easy)
- Complete Homework (of course I am the leader!)
- Handwrite the entire book of James (really? don't I have enough homework already...okay I will do it.)
- Read Articles (from inside the book from Melissa)
- MEMORIZE JAMES...(still in process)From James Chapter 1 to Chapter 5, I was changed. Whatever I was doing to "quench the word of God was not worth it" to "what we are delivered from, -we will be delivered to..." all spoke directly to my heart.I too, struggled to always see Jesus in seasons where he wasn't that obvious. Going through extreme grief over the suicide of my step-children’s mother, then going into a season of raging anger for the past 34 months... had me clinging to every word in James.When challenged with "When was the last time scripture changed you" I was certain it had not...Then came Chapter 1 verse 26; (this is the ESV version)"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tonguebut deceives his heart, that person's religion is worthless!"That was my "Ah-Ha" moment and at that very moment the Holy Spirit convicted me. This was MY life changing verse!Is it not His amazing timing to walk with me through this time of my life? To use James and walk me through verse by verse the Resurrection Power of a God who showed me personally "He triumphs the power of my past"...if I was willing to let him. I found Christ did sear a hole through my protectiveness, and he took me and gently led me to a place I desperately needed to be in. Total Surrender!!He challenged me in my raging anger to consider 3 new options.
- Pray about it
- Obey His Word
- Trust God with the results!Then he showed me the fruits of these and they encouraged me. (James 1:19-21)These 3 imperative steps were from God:
- Be quick to hear; showed me to listen more instead of judging and attacking those around me.
- Slow to speak; showed me to open my mouth only if it were edifying, and to think before I spoke.
- Slow to anger (HUGE FOR ME) taught me; "Few internal motivators rival anger" and then He led me to Ephesians 4:18 "They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of ignorance that is in them due to their hardness of heart."Wow.... that got my attention for sure!! I was reminded of the fact that when the pain of holding becomes greater than the fear of letting go, that that is when we become willing to give up the very thing Satan meant for my demise and I learned to step out in the "living water of faith."This time, I am ready! When all the anger that had blocked me from following His lead in the past--James showed me in scripture, we are now being brought to total submission by turning my "NO" to no and my "YES" to yes. And in order for me to stay alive on the branch I must abide in the vine and "LIVE LIFE WITH GOD!"...Beth reminded us that "those who are wise do not pound it in." And that is what I needed... not someone to pound it in but to gently show me the way. James did just that. Praise God.1 Peter 1:13 Reminded me "Therefore get your minds ready"...it showed me I need to abandon my current way of thinking and I needed to do it HIS (GOD's) way. After all. "He gives greater grace and opposes the proud." (James4:6)I am confident that I now need to deliberate in what I resisted (in my case the anger) & draw near to (GOD).I am proud to say that it is so reassuring to know that there will be no greater compliment in this realm than knowing God will someday say about me; "Have you seen my servant, Sherrie?" When God revealed it, I needed to die to it...the self-gratification that anger had brought me and in doing just that He has taught me greater Joy and Peace.-SherriePS 26:3 "For your steadfast love is before my eyes,and I walk in your faithfulness"