Know Thyself

il_fullxfull_362628416_71qyOne of the best things in the world that we can do is know ourselves.  Know our strengths.  Know our weaknesses.  There’s an old saying – Know Thyself. That’s a good thing. Because when we know ourselves, we know what to be on the lookout for.  What are things that could cause us trouble.

What are the things in our lives, in our past, in our present, that could trip us up?  Tempt us?  Cause to get ourselves in trouble? Do we know ourselves?

One of the things I really believe is that the Bible is the revelation of God’s truth for us, it points us to Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith. But it also points us for how to live, and for is just true.  The Bible points us over and over again to truth.  In fact, that old saying really be better understood in the light of James 1: 12-15:

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. 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. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James tells us, when you are lead into tempted, don’t say – God is tempting me.  Know where your temptations come from.  Within us.  Our flesh.  Our desires.  Our stuff.

That’s why we have to know ourselves.

What tempts you?  Where are you weak?  Where are you easily knocked off course.  Where does trouble come for you?

When you know where your weak spots are, you’ll know where to be on the watch.  You’ll know what to avoid. Where to be careful.

We aren’t all tested by the same thing. We have different weak spots.  Different temptations.  Different struggles.  Different histories. Different everythings.

What tempts me may not tempt you, and vice versa.  But I need to be aware of what tempts me.

That way I can (1) avoid it and (2) guard my heart against it when it can’t be avoided.  When I know myself, and you know yourself, we can (through God’s grace) better stand.

Today, what tempts you?  What is it that gets you?  Know that, and be aware.  And, when we know our weakness, we have a better shot of being faithful.  We have a better chance of being salt and light!

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SOAP – Day Two – James 4:7-10

324904370_640I’m going to do my posts this week in the method of study that I talked about yesterday, the SOAP method.  So, let’s start!

S – scripture 

We are going to read James 4:7-10.  Read slowly.  Don’t rush through this.  Listen.  If it helps, write it out yourself.  Listen for God’s voice in this.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

O – observation 

What did you see when you read?  This is what I observed.

Submit yourself to God.  I am not the boss of my life. God is. I have to submit myself to Him.  It’s not about me.

Resist the devil, and he will flee.  The devil is not all powerful.  He is not unstoppable.  He is not the greatest power in the world, God is.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  God will be there.  He has promised.  He is always there. If we turn to Him, He will be there for us.

Cleanse, and purify.  Humble yourself.  My sin, my mistakes, they cause harm.  To others. To my walk with God.  To myself. I have to turn from them. I have to repent. I have to wash myself, and make myself clean.

A – application 

How will I apply this to my life today?

Today, I will not seek to do my will, but will seek to do God’s.  I will ask myself, before each decision, is this something that God wants me to do?  I will slow myself, I will consider my actions. I will think about my plans. I will submit myself to God.  I will do all that I can do today to live for Him, not for me.

I will keep my eyes open for temptation. And I will say no.  When faced with temptation, I will pray. I will turn to others for help. I will make sure that I resist temptation. I will remind myself that the devil is the father of all lies, and if it’s a temptation, it is a lie. And, I know that if I resist him, the devil will flee. God’s Word promises that.

I will truly repent of my sins. I will not just feel sorry for what I’ve done, but I will ask God to forgive me, I will accept that forgiveness, and I will allow God’s grace to allow me to be faithful.

P – prayer

God, help your Word to be made real in my life today.  Help me to submit myself to you today, to live for your purpose.  Help me resist temptation, in whatever way that it comes. And help me to understand my need for forgiveness and to truly repent of my sins.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phone.

Before You Say It. . . .

James in his letter writes about the power of the tongue. He says that it’s a restless evil, that no one can control it. With the same mouth be bless God and curse our neighbor. He goes on to say that this should not be so.

I’ve often compared the book of James in the New Testament to the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. They are both incredibly practical books of wisdom for the living of each day.

And both books are really concerned about our mouths and what we say.

James talked about the tongue being a restless evil, listen to what Proverbs 17: 27-28 says today:

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Restrain your words, have a cool spirit. Even a fool that keep silent is considered wise.

So, today, keep this simple advice from both James and from Proverbs.

Be careful what you say. Before you say it, take a moment to think about it. Pray about it. Consider what your words will do.

Once you say them, you can’t get them back. Once they are out, they are out, and theirs nothing that can be done about it.

Be calm, cool, and discerning today. Pray about your words. Think about your words. Speak your words carefully. Use them for building up, not for tearing down. Use them for good, not for ill.

Use them to glorify God and help others.

Today, before you say it, think about it. And may we use all that we are, mouth and words included, for God’s glory!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

You are not Powerless

Sometimes we focus in our devotional life about the reality of our sin.

We understand how sinful we are; our broken nature, and these things make us all the more thankful for God, for His salvation, and for His grace.

And those are all very good things. Those are all things that we need to know. We need to know that we are loved, no matter what we’ve done. We need to know that we need to never get too proud; it’s the pride that comes before the fall. We need to understand that only through grace can we stand.

It’s good for us to know these things.

But, it’s also good for us to read James.  Because James tells us to bow up. Do right.  Act right. Stop doing things that are wrong. Start doing things that are right.

Yes, we are sinful.  Yes, we have done things wrong. Yes, we will make mistakes.

But, you know what?  You aren’t powerless.

Listen to what James writes today in James 4:

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.

Humble yourself before God.  Know that your strength comes from God, not from you. Without Him, you are powerless. Without Him, there’s nothing you can do. Without Him, we have no hope.

But, with Him, resist the devil, and he will flee.  With Him, we have the greatest power. With Him, we are not powerless and helpless. With Him, we are more than conquers.

Today, you are not powerless.  Today, you are not at the whims of the devil. Today, you have a choice to make.

Will you follow along with the plans of the devil? Or will you resist?

Today, you are not powerless. Today, through God, you have strength and power. Today, through God, resist the devil and he will flee.

Today, you are not powerless.  Today, you have a choice to make. What choice will you make?