Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 (HCSB)
Do you feel like God is calling you to do something for Him? What is stopping you from doing it? Fear is one of the most common things that holds people back from doing things for God.
Some people fear what others will think, others fear the consequences of a decision or stand for God. Regardless of what the fear is, if left unchecked, fear will stop you from doing what God is calling you to do.
One of the best ways to combat fear in your life is to push past the fear. What does that look like? It’s telling your friend that seems depressed about Jesus even when you feel scared. It’s going on that missions trip even though you’ve never been that far away from home. When you push past your fear and step out you’ll find that God will always come through for you. God never leaves you alone and without help.
Today’s Truth: God never leaves you alone or without help.
Even if you’re afraid, choose to step out and do what God is calling you to do. If you do even while feeling afraid, you’ll see that God will come through for you.
Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. – Proverbs 14:4
Sometimes, it can be easy to want to do big things alone. Maybe you’ve got a group project at school you’re working on and it’s just really difficult to want to involve the help of others. However, if you are wanting to do something truly significant, you’ll need the help of others to get it done. The problem with including others is that it often can get messy. Dealing with others can be challenging. It’s tempting to just decide to do it yourself. Today’s Bible verse is letting us know that a wise person will get help to accomplish something bigger than he or she could on their own. Including others can be tough because you have to get along and clean up messes along the way. However, getting help from others is worth the mess!
Today’s Truth: A wise person will get help to accomplish something bigger than he could do on his own
Isn’t it awesome that God shares with us wisdom like this? Today, think about the project that is in your heart to accomplish. Who could you invite to help you? What resource do you need to invest in to help with your project? Realize that including resources from others will bring much more increase in your endeavors than trying to accomplish it all by yourself.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
Have you ever been afraid? I remember a time when I watched a really scary movie at a friend’s house and it made me so afraid I couldn’t sleep at night. After a few sleepless nights, I realized that my fear needed to be dealt with.
The same is true for you. If left unchecked, fear will stop you from doing really important things. Fear cripples you and keeps you from sleep, peace and the good things God has for your life.
Fear is a tool the enemy tries to use to stop you and distract you from what God has for your life. In John 10:10 it says that the thief is there to steal, kill and destroy. That’s what fear does. It steals your peace and joy. It makes you unable to do things that you want to do.
If fear has stopped you in the past, choose today to take a stand against it. Don’t let fear hold you back. Choose instead to replace your fear with truths from God’s word. Determine that fear doesn’t have the last word in your life.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. – James 4:17 (NIV)
James talks in today’s verse about how when we know to do something that’s good, but don’t do it, it’s sin. Ouch! That verse is intense, isn’t it? How many times do you know that you should speak up at school and don’t? How many times do some people talk badly about someone else, and you don’t stick up for them? Or how often do you not correct someone to avoid you looking bad or getting into trouble?
If you’re honest, it’s probably a lot. And each of those things are sins. As Christians, we should be striving to do good in all areas of our lives.
The good news is that God’s grace is there for when we mess up. So even though you’re not perfect, you’re forgiven in Jesus. So today, try to strive to do what’s right and what you know to do. But when you’re not perfect, don’t beat yourself up. Learn from it, and know that God forgives you!
Who likes to submit? Not me! I hate the idea. It’s just against our nature as humans to want to have someone tell us what to do and how to live our lives.
However, despite not always liking it, it’s something that as Christians we are told to do. Today’s verse encourages us to submit ourselves to God.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7 (NIV)
Submitting isn’t easy. Our flesh doesn’t like the idea of someone telling us what to do and how to live our lives. But here’s the thing. God created us. He knows us, and He loves us more than we even love ourselves. So when He tells us how to live, it’s not because He’s mean or controlling. Instead, it’s because He really loves us. He wants to the best for us.
When we submit our lives to Him, we find fulfillment. God knows what will really bring us peace. And when we live our lives for Him, we will be more at peace than living without Him.
So today, think about this truth. God has good things for us. We aren’t living our lives for ourselves but for Him, and when we do, things will go better for us.
Have you noticed all the issues pride can cause? Pride usually comes when you feel good about something you did or you accomplished.
Did you see the issue there with that statement? Something you did, or you accomplished. That’s the problem with pride. It leaves God out of the equation. Pride is something God opposes because it removes the need for Him in your life. When you think that you can do it all yourself, and you don’t seek God or His help, that’s pride.
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. – James 4:6 (NIV)
Pride isn’t something that we should be running after as Christians. Instead, we should be seeking relationship with God. We should be seeking to know Him more, and seek His opinion, advice and help in each area of our lives.
We weren’t built to face life on our own. And if we try, we often feel depressed, helpless and alone. It’s including God in your life that brings you the fulfillment that your heart seeks.
So today, decide to seek after God. Don’t try to live your life for yourself and on your own. Instead, seek God. Involve Him in your life and follow His plan for you each day.
Today’s Truth: Don’t Try to Live your life only for you.
Have you ever done something you wished you could take back? Maybe you made a bad choice and wished you could have a do-over. I know I have a ton of times. How often do we sin and do things we know we should not do? Probably more times than we can count.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably envied someone and tried to get what they had, only to find out that it was empty. Or that you were pursuing the wrong thing. James makes an interesting point in today’s verse.
You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. – James 4:2 (NIV)
Often, we do things that aren’t good because we don’t really get God involved in our lives. If we’d reach out and ask God about the things we want and the things that we’re unhappy about, wouldn’t that help us? I think that’s what James is trying to point out.
If we’d just go to God with our desires, and listen to what He has to say, maybe we wouldn’t go out and do the things we know we shouldn’t do.
So today, if you haven’t already, begin to develop your relationship with God. Go to Him. Talk to Him about the hard parts of your day. Let Him know how you’re doing. Ask Him for wisdom and advice. As you do, you’ll realize that your desires line up to His desires the more you know Him. Also, you’ll realize that He wants to help you and give you what you need. So lean on Him, go to Him and let Him fill you rather than doing sinful things.
Have you ever wanted to do the right thing, but didn’t? I can remember a time when I knew the right thing to do was to treat a kid at church with kindness. But my desire to be liked by the other kids at my church was greater than how I was making this particular kid feel. So I chose to make others laugh over what I knew was right. I ended up hurting another kid’s feelings rather than doing what was right and treating that kid kindly.
How about you? Have you ever had two desires fighting in you? Maybe you had the desire to do good, but also had your flesh that wanted to do something that was against God and the Bible? If so, you’re not alone. James describes this in today’s verse.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? – James 4:1 (NIV)
We often have conflicting desires. We want to do what’s right and good, but sometimes, the desire for laughs from friends, acceptance or something else seems more important at the time. And while we all fight those two battling desires, part of being mature is knowing how to handle them.
It takes maturity to say no to what feels good, and do what’s right. It takes courage to stand up when someone is being bullied. That maturity comes the more you spend time with God. The more you get in His Prescence, the more you want to please Him and live for Him. As you know God more, what He wants becomes more important than anything else.
So if you struggle with battling desires, consider spending more time in Bible Study, worship and prayer. As you spend time with God, your desire to please Him grows.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – James 3:18 (NIV)
James is such a practical book. I’m reading through it right now, and it really addresses so many practical life issues. Today’s verse talks about peacemakers. That’s something we often don’t think that much about. Being a peacemaker.
It’s so much easier to stir things up, isn’t it. When your friends are gossiping, it’s easy to add your thoughts on the topic. When someone is mad at someone else at school, it’s easy to chime in with something bad that person did to you also. Or maybe when someone is being bullied, it’s easier to look the other way an pretend that you don’t see it.
However, there’s power in being a peacemaker. It isn’t easy to choose the path of peace. It can be way more tough and feel like less fun than stirring things up. However, when we choose a path of peace, we are sowing good things for us and for our future.
The more we can sow peace, the better we will feel, but most importantly, the more like Christ we will become.
So today, if you haven’t been a peacemaker, decide to live your life differently. Choose instead to promote peace in your life and you’ll being to reap a good harvest!
Can you think of the last time you wished you were someone else? Maybe you wished you were someone famous. Or perhaps you wished that you had a different family, or the clothes, life or possessions of another. It’s so easy to find ourselves envying others.
Here’s the thing with envy. If we leave it unchecked it can lead to bad things. For example, envy left unchecked can lead you to sin in many different ways. You might sin by stealing something so that you feel like you’re not missing out on what they have. Whatever way it plays out, envy is not a good thing in our lives. Here’s what James has to say about envy.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. – James 3:16 (NIV)
James shows us that envy leads to bad things. So today, if you’ve allowed yourself to become envious of what others have, pause and think. Determine to make a change in your life. Set your heart on Jesus. Know that He will provide you with what you need, and trust in Him. As you do, you’ll begin to win the battle against envy in your heart.
Don’t let envy steal joy from you and lead you down a path you don’t want to go. Instead, fill your heart with the joy that Jesus brings. Let Him be everything you need today!