I’ve had my head in the book of James a fair bit lately and I’ve been struck by the wonder and beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of God’s grace to us by sending His son to die for our sins and the wonderful news of the new life we have in the risen Christ is a precious gift. I am awestruck at how all this fits into the majestic and eternal plan of God that He has for his people. It is something I think about every day.
As I focus and appreciate the wonder of God, I am also challenged to have a greater appreciation for the power of His Word. The wonder of God’s glory displayed in His word is something I don’t always understand or appreciate the way I should. I take for granted the power that is found there. This power that I find in reading His word has allowed me to get through the difficult times, the lonely times, the times that I just wanted to give up.
It is through these hard times that I discover what a wonder that my God is! God superseded the laws of nature to be born a human being. Nothing is beyond His ability; His love for us stops at no limits to exercise itself for our complete welfare.
He who once miraculously gave His Son wrapped in human flesh can send me the most precious of blessings in the plainest packages. Let the wonder of our Savior’s birth convince us once and for all that we ought not expect God’s ways to coincide with our earthbound thinking and desires. God’s rescue plan for mankind required going beyond human comprehension. I have no struggle with trying to understand the wonder of God. He is magnificent and I am amazed that He chose me to love.
This thing I ponder… in the solitude of my heart:
What God accomplishes in my life cannot always be gauged by appearance. These truths have become very real in my life… Life won’t always be great. I will not always be happy. These things are left for eternity.
If loneliness grieves me, if circumstances distress me, I must not conclude that God has turned from me. It is through these very things that he can bring about the fulfillment of what He, in His love, is planning for my eternal benefit. His ways are not my ways. He often acts in ways that are mysterious to me — these “ways” are a wonderful display of His power, love, and discipline. My failure as a believer is not in His plan for my life. The self-inflected or unintentional trials that I go through are ways for me to grow in my spiritual walk. My goal…is to withstand the test and receive the blessings from Him when I endure through these hard times.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full–grown, gives birth to death.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:12-18)
When things don’t go exactly my way, and I don’t receive what I want, all too often I think that God has withheld from me something good, even something I need. I’m tempted to sin to get the circumstances I want, and I blame God for not just giving them to me. But what I fail to realize is that only good things come from God. He has given me the greatest and most perfect gift – the Word of truth, the gospel of Jesus, through which we receive eternal life (the crown of life) and belong to God to become more like Jesus Christ. The trials, difficult circumstances and challenges we face in life are the examples that James says we are given for that very purpose…to become more Christlike.
I know where the solution lies. It’s not in exerting more religious muscle or trying to beat myself into spiritual shape, but it’s in turning again and again to Christ. To drink deeply of the wonder of His grace so that God’s glory in Christ would be my greatest desire and joy. That by grace alone, through faith alone and in Christ alone I can receive the Crown of Life when I withstand the trials of this life. Now those are Words of Power and a example of the Wonder of God.