I recently just watched an episode of a new show called God Friended Me. According to CBS.com this is what the show is about: “God Friended Me is a humorous, uplifting drama about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.”
The show is actually pretty good. But watching it made me think about how easy and often mindless Facebook is. How sometimes I wish my faith were as easy as a message from God on Facebook. That he could “friend” me and I could learn from a post or two about what, who, or where God wanted me to be. There would be no questions, no interpretations, only very clear answers. How nice it would be to just scroll through pictures, memes, or quotes where God tells me exactly what he wants me to know. I envision that it would be super simple and I could have a happy heart. Always.
But then I thought a little deeper about it. What really super awesome things have come into my life and enriched me that came without any work involved? My most precious gifts in this life aren’t things but people. My marriage, my children, and my closest friends/family are the best blessings in my life. Each of them are maintained by working at it. They are mountain tops and valleys – where I must work at loving, giving grace, forgiving and having patience. All of these relationships takes time and energy at working at them.
With God he LOVES me always, He offers me GRACE always, he FORGIVES me always, and He is filled with PATIENCE for me always. It’s not work to him. But he wants me to work at love, grace, forgiveness, and patience so I can shine his light to others. Always.
I am enough for God. Just as I am. But he wants me to be engaged at all times – working hard to stay close to Him and others surrounding me. God wants my constant prayers. God wants me to study His word. God wants me to worship. These things don’t happen quickly or easily. It definitely doesn’t come by a quick scroll of social media. But when I do work hard at these things I can love better, offer more grace, forgive others, and have more patience. The payoff for my time and energy is priceless for me, my earthly relationships, and my relationship with God!
Today I pulled out my study bible (the photo above). This is the bible that I purchased for myself years ago when I decided I wouldn’t just talk about my faith but I really wanted to LIVE a life for God. I read this bible cover to cover, but that first time was earth shattering. I did a year long bible study with my sister where we read the bible in chronological order. She used references from her study bible, from a book by Matthew Henry (who in the 1600s wrote a concise commentary on the whole bible), and from Vine’s Dictionary of the Bible. I took COPIOUS notes. I read VORACIOUSLY. I highlighted anything that struck me. I read it and studied it like my life depended on it. Because it did depend on it. This was hard work and took lots of time and energy. But the pay off was this beautiful life God had for me that I never would’ve experienced without all of that study. I LOVE this bible! These were the pages where my eyes were really opened to what these words would mean to me, in reference to my life. I have a new bible now for some new seasons of my life, but I still go back and reference this bible for times I need a deeper understanding or background to something I’m reading.
This morning I opened this bible to the book of James. This book is thought to be written by Jesus brother whom at one point in his life didn’t believe in him, but ended up actually becoming an important church leader. James wrote this book as a letter to show us as christians just how to live a “christian” life. It is a short book and is really quite easy to understand. It is one of the first books of the bible that I had my now 11 year old read when she first got her bible in 3rd grade. I feel like its relevant to the young and old. It simply helps us remember to put in time and effort to live your christian faith and not just talk about it.
James talks about showing people your faith by what you do:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?…You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. – James 2:14, 24
James talks about watching what you say to others:
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise or cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. – James 3:9-10
James talks about submitting yourself to God and not to worry about others:
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor? – James 4:11-12
James talks about having patience during suffering and to have prayers of faith for all people. Our prayers should always be first for ALL circumstances … good and bad:
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:13-14, 16
Life and relationships are not as easy as pulling up Facebook and scrolling for things you want to listen to. We cannot just scroll through our life and our faith. We must put the time, energy, and effort into our relationships with God and those here on earth. We must learn to be wise and have wisdom from God.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – James 3:13.
And we must PRAY! Friends…we must pray unceasingly. Pray for ourselves and for others. Pray for others when they no longer have the words. Our prayers are powerful! God will listen to our prayers. I want that power on my side. I will pray for you my friends. Will you pray for me?