Do you practice your faith?

December 12, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

Imagine an athlete who did not practice his sport. Imagine a musician who did not practice their instrument. They would not be able to perform what they profess to be able to do.

Now, imagine a Christian who did not practice their faith! Faith requires patience, perseverance, and, yes, trials. It is through these adversities that our faith is strengthened, our righteousness made complete in the eyes of God. We may profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, yet, when trials come, do we abandon the faith or do we hold stronger to it?

Think of the trials as practice in the same way the musician practices to become better. Think of trials in the same way as physical conditioning of the athlete so that they may endure long periods of physical activity. No one who claims to be well versed in any area is that way without a devotion to that activity. The same is true of faith.

It requires a spiritual conditioning in order to be strengthened and utilized the way God intended. Therefore

” Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
(James 1:2-4(NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you do what it says?

July 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Have you ever heard someone say that there are hard sayings in the Bible? At first read, this doesn’t sound like it is one of them, but take a very close look at the last four words of this passage.

“Do what it says.”

It doesn’t say to try to do what it says. It doesn’t tell us to do what it says when it is convenient. It doesn’t tell us to do what it says when it benefits us. It simply tells us to do what it says.

If you are like every other human being alive today, you probably don’t like to follow directions very well, especially when those directions come from someone that you think doesn’t know you and how you like to do things. How many have ever had a job where they handed you an employee manual? You were expected to perform according to that manual. You were required to read it and abide by what was contained within its pages.

How many of you truly know God’s manual that He has given to us? Do we spend enough time within God’s Word so that we know it? How can we do what it says if we don’t know what it says? Most of us are well versed in the basics, but, we need to get beyond the basic training that we have received. We are soldiers who are called to a higher understanding. We are, according to Paul, like athletes who are called to train for the competition.

No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.
(2 Timothy 2:4-5 (NIV))

That training requires us to know the rules thoroughly. What are the rules that we are to live by? What are the rules that should govern our lives?

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

According to James, we should know God’s Word like we know our own faces. We should reflect God’s Word. What do you reflect?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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