Some of you may be floundering in your faith today or struggling with pressing on in a specific season of life. You may be a young mom who is exhausted, a caregiver who is worn out, a wife in a difficult marriage. Perhaps you are in a job that is requiring more from you than you can handle, or you are fighting a sickness or disease. These challenges can hinder you from pressing on to spiritual maturity if you let them.
In the book of James, James not only addresses the obstacles that can trip us up, but he also emphasizes three essentials necessary to overcome these obstacles.
1. Love for the Word of God
James loved the Word of God. He refers to it as “the word of truth” (1:18); “the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (1:21); ‘the perfect law, the law of liberty’ (1:25); ‘the royal law’ (2:8); and the law of liberty (2:12). He knew the importance of knowing God’s Word and obeying it. You are not going to press on toward spiritual maturity if you don’t love God’s Word.
- Do you love God’s Word? How much time do you spend in His Word each day?
2. Devotion to prayer
James gets to this matter very quickly (1:5), returns to it (4:2–3), and ends with it (5:13–18). James knew the importance of prayer and how vital it is if we are going to press on.
James reportedly spent much time in prayer. One tradition nicknames James “camel knees” because of the calluses he was supposed to have developed from long hours spent in prayer. Eusebius, church historian of the fourth century, said of James: “He used to enter alone into the temple and be found kneeling and praying for forgiveness of the people, so that his knees grew hard like a camel’s because of his constant worship of God.”
- Are you devoted to prayer? Would people be able to call you “camel knees” because of the amount of time you spend on your knees in prayer?
3. Separation from the world
If you are going to press on to spiritual maturity, you cannot allow the world to dictate what you think and how you behave.
Here are some questions to ponder as we consider the topics James addressed concerning the world:
- Do you control your tongue or speak however you want?
- Do you show partiality and prejudice to others, or love them the way Christ would?
- The world tells us it’s all about me and my way. Is your life all about self or do you surrender self to God?
- Do you long for the riches of the world, or are you satisfied with the riches of Christ?
- Do you want to make your own plans for your life, like the world does, or do you trust God’s plans for your life?
- Are you staying unstained by the world, or is the world rubbing off on you?
You are not going to press on to spiritual maturity if you love this world more than you love the Savior.
How are you doing in these three areas?