4 Difficult Choices That Lead to a More Meaningful Life

4 Ways to Become a Stronger Person

 

Our strength comes from God, but are there ways that we can be proactive about becoming stronger people? We are responsible for how we use our time and energy. So, how can we become stronger in our mission to love God with all our hearts, love others as ourselves, and spread the life saving news of Christ? By diving into James 1 we can learn some very important things about keeping our hearts strong.

Don’t View Trials as a Curse

James 1:1-4 (ESV)

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

This step is easier said than done, and I have certainly struggled with this myself. When we encounter trials, what is our first reaction? Do we become mad at God?

God isn’t out to get us. If we remain faithful to Him, we can know that ultimately He will take care of us. That doesn’t mean that we won’t encounter trouble. If we view our trials as an opportunity for God to grow us, however, we are on the right track.

These verses also remind me of a book title that I saw a few years back. I was going through some difficult times, and I saw a book entitled Don’t Waste Your Sorrows by Paul E. Billheimer. It’s not very often that the title of a book speaks such a strong message. I never ended up reading the book, but I’ve never forgotten the four words of wisdom that were stretched across the front cover.

 Seek Wisdom and Remain Faithful

James 1:5-11 (ESV)

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Take in verses 5 and 6 one more time. God gives wisdom generously to those who ask in faith. In addition to asking for wisdom, it is wise to listen for wisdom. How can we do this? One practical way is to open up our Bibles. Reading your Bible is an awesome way to grow. You may not think that you need to read the Bible, but you are just robbing yourself if you don’t. There is so much in the Bible, why not take it? Don’t know where to start? Read this.

 

 Stay Strong During Struggle

James 1:12-18 (ESV)

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

I find verse 14 to be incredibly convicting. God doesn’t tempt us. How are we tempted? By our own desires. Our own desires give birth to sin, and sin leads to death. Sounds like a road I obviously don’t want to travel, and yet, I am tempted to walk it every day.

How can we stay strong when we are tempted by our own desires? From what I can tell, verse 12 seems to imply that the people who love God are likely to remain steadfast. Super simplify things. Focus on loving God and loving others. If you persistently pursue this choice, you will be amazed at how other things will fall into place.

Actually Do What the Bible Teaches

James 1:19-27 (ESV)

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Verses 19 and 20 suggest that we should be ready to listen quickly, but slow down when it comes to speaking and becoming angry. Watch your temper, and be careful about what you say. Be ready to care for someone instead of attacking them. Be ready to love your enemy. Be ready to listen to what the Bible says.

What do we do after we take the time to listen to what the Bible says? Actually start doing the things that it teaches. This can be hard, but it’s incredibly important.

Check out verse 27 again. I love that verse. Want to find a way to start caring for people in need? Check this article out!

When we decide to make good decisions in our life, we will begin to see good changes in our lives. When we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Check out James 4 for more on that.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I hope you are inspired to view trials in a positive light, seek wisdom, stay faithful, stay strong during temptation, and be doers (not just hearers) of what the Bible says.

I love you guys! I’m praying for you!

-Caleb

 

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Below is the Photo Source for “4 Difficult Choices That Lead to a More Meaningful Life” These artist(s) do not necessarily share my viewpoints, but have kindly released their work under a creative commons licence. Follow the links below to find the original artists and copyright license:

Strength of my heart – listentothemountains

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