Friday, January 24, 2014

Who would have thought James could be so mean?

Since the beginning of the new year I have been trying to read my Bible
each morning when I wake up because I am lame-o at being disciplined in this area.
Just keeping it real here.
So I have committed to reading through James every day in January.
This is a book thought to be written by Jesus' half-brother.
You get the sense that Jesus has rubbed off on him with his words and light.
I want it to get into my bones and fortify my spirit.
At least I thought I did.
Until it started convicting me.
And then I wanted to go back to reading historical mysteries.
Because they don't make me feel bad about myself.
But James....he is peeling back the layers of my soul and
putting up a mirror to it, saying,
"Lookie, that's not so pretty."
No. No it isn't, James.
This verse has gotten to me in particular.
James 4:3
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,
that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
It zings me each time that I read it. Probably because I ask Jesus for things with
wrong motives. And then I spend what I get on my pleasures.
I do so enjoy my pleasures.
I am selfish. There I have said it.
It is the part of me that I try to hide from others but it is there.
And James has been showing me who I am at the core of myself.
It has made me weep.
I once cut my foot with a piece of glass and had to have it scrubbed out with an iodine sponge.
I called out on the name of Jesus, and tears seeped from the corners of my eyes, and I had to
grip the sides of the ER gurney and I felt a little bit like I was going to throw up.
And then it was done. I was cleaned up. No infection. No glass. I was ready to heal.
But I was sore for days.
And that is what James has been doing for me. He has got me on the mat with his words and
the Holy Spirit is going to town with an iodine sponge of truth on the wounds of my soul.
Those dark patches that are inclined to fester and turn ugly.
That portion of me that thinks, "I should have whatever I want whenever I want it and I
don't really care what Jesus or anyone else thinks about it."
He knows that left to my own devices, my own desires, my own self centered ways,
I will destroy myself. It is just what we do as humans.
So He is working at it and poking at it and making me look at it and do something about it.
James follows up oh so convicting verse saying things like....
Submit to God. Resist the devil. Come near to God. Quit messing around. 
Humble yourself to the Lord. Then he will lift you up. (Sue paraphrase).
So I am working on the first part of what James says: Submit.
I'm doing the hand off. I'm turning my face towards the One who has the power to do something
about the state of my soul and I'm saying,
"Okay, Jesus, all this mess, the part of me that doesn't want to listen to you or care about others,
 I am giving it to you. You are the only one who can turn a hard selfish heart into a heart that beats
with a strong love for you and you alone."
And then I think I am going to keep reading James. Even when he is mean.

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