“That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, being double-minded and unstable in all his ways.” James 1:7-8 (CSB)
Not too long after moving onto the property that I presently live on I brought a weed whacker. It was a simple 2-cycle engine driven gizmo that I modified to whack more than just blades of unwanted grass against my house’s foundation. After the first year of use, the weed whacker had issues starting. It didn’t matter how much I went through this simple engine; I couldn’t find out what was going wrong. So, a friend made a recommendation that I use a fuel stabilizer in my gas/oil mix. “Well, whaddya know? That stuff worked” I said to myself. Now mind you, a simple 2-cycle engine technically shouldn’t need an additive to run but for the sake of my shoulder aching after pulling the cord to get my weed whacker started, this was a welcomed suggestion.
I don’t know how many of you who read Freedom Fighter’s did this but Bill Welte had challenged us a few devotionals back to choose a word for the New Year. Well, after the madness that was 2020, I chose STABILITY. Yeah, good luck with that, right? But check this out. It’s not like I’m asking for my horizontal conditions to be stable (it would be nice but we live in a fallen world), on the contrary, I’m seeking my vertical conditions to be stable. For that to be understood we gotta open up our Bibles and turn them pages to the Book of James.
“Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Now before I go any further, you need to know that I am no fan of having my faith, patience and resolve (I have a longer list but let’s not go there) tested ever. Just ask some of the folks around me. To be honest about it I don’t always do so well when I am. I tend to forget that I have claimed to be a child of God and instead of reacting as Jesus did on 99% of those kinda moments, I choose to flip over tables, yell at leaders, and whip on people (well metaphorically whip them these days). That is a behavior that my Latin friends would say is “NO BUENO!!” So, since I’m definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed what’s a boy to do?
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God — who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly — and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5-6)
One of my problems to handling those moments of testing is doubt (Bill shoulda asked what word we struggle with…anyway). It’s not that I doubt God, it’s that I doubt God will let me handle it my own way (yeah, I know, this means I doubt God). To explain, I have a “hammer to a nail” approach to stuff that goes awry. Now, sometimes it works and works well but other times I tend to use a 27 oz framing hammer to ¾” finishing nail and instead of driving the nail into the wood, I bend the nail and leave a crater in a wonderful piece of oak. I didn’t wanna do that much damage in the first place, however, I am guilty of wanting to drive that nail in with one shot.
Let me share something my boy, Matt Henry, once said, “Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare.” BOOM!! MIC DROP!!
One of the things I need to stabilize this year is understanding what God is accomplishing, in me, through those times of testing He sends my way. Granted, I may be “vexed” by a test (or dare I say a trial) when it arrives at that moment but if my only response to it is to fumble around looking for a hammer (where did I put that framing hammer) maybe I should hit the pause button and go vertical. This means closing the toolbox and seek the Father’s will on what other tool really applies to help me endure the time of testing. (It’s probably prayer but I do have monkey wrenches…I know, No Bueno)
And before I wrap this up today let me encourage you to seek out other folks who may have gone through what you’re going through. God had shared His wisdom with a great many people in His kingdom. Never know who has that bottle of Sta-Bil fuel additive to share with you. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org