BY: Andrew Wharton
E-MAIL ADDRESS: Andrew@lifeassembly.com
BIBLE TEXT: James 2:2-4 (MSG): Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
PERSONAL REFLECTION: At Life, in part two of “The Trek” series, I talked about being “off route.” I am using “off route” as a metaphor for simply not being where I should be in every aspect of living life for Him and not being fully where I need to be spiritually.
There’s something unique about the concept of being off route and that is this: you are headed somewhere. My intent was to go to a certain place. But for whatever reason, circumstances, or situations there has been an interjection to that plan and destination that altered the course. Now, I am off route!
I am reminded of how God is our provider in every circumstance and situation. A study of scripture will reveal that He is our guide, provider, healer, director and forgiver. (Note: A word study on “Jehovah” will reveal that and more.) The most amazing thing about it is that it’s not predicated on whether I am “on route” or “off route” as long as I am moving toward Him. I may be so confused as I try to figure out how to get back “on route,” yet in those times He will be there to guide. It doesn’t matter what position I find myself in life, I must purpose in my heart to move toward Him.
That may sound like a simple statement but when I am honest with myself, I discover that the mental, physical, and social areas in my life each have a propensity to pull me into a place where it becomes difficult to keep spiritually pursuing Him. At the end of the day being “off route” may seem personally bad — and it is — but it isn’t as bad as I might think because I purpose to keep moving toward Him. I may have just strayed a bit, yet deeply desire to move toward Him. So, as James tells us, count it all joy when…because the joy is in Him and pursuing Him!
PERSONAL APPLICATION; In order to fully understand this concept, you need to at least have walked the trail some time in your life. I would encourage you to do so if you never have and if you have, continue to do so. You will find joy in the fact that you were in God’s creation walking among those things He crafted with His very finger and spoken word.
PRAYER: Lord, I ask you today to allow myself to be fully vulnerable with you and recognize where are I am in relationship to you. Clear the clutter of life so I may see clear the love you have for me and the direction I need to move in my life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I’m honored to be the founding pastor of Life Assembly Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee — the town I grew up in. I am a husband and father to three boys and one beautiful daughter-in-law. I am the owner of a precious golden retriever named Gracie that has been with us for 13 years. I have a deep affinity for the nature that God has created, to which He invites us to enter in and experience, thus experiencing Him who created it.