So, I have a confession to make. I used to not like James.
Not the person but the book.
I used to feel uncomfortable when reading this book of the Bible because I wasn’t sure if I really liked what it said…which made me feel even more uncomfortable.
I mean, this is the Bible we’re talking about…and I’m a Christian, so I should like and be comfortable with everything it says, right? In my defense, James must have been a no-holds barred kind of guy, because he doesn’t really mince words…he just sort of comes out swingin’!
James basically starts his book by saying we should be pumped when troubles come our way! This must be a joke, right?!
Let’s be reasonable…nobody really likes to face troubles much less enjoys them.
Troubles are hard, uncomfortable, and they stretch us beyond where we like to live.
Troubles often take us into places where we don’t know what we’re doing…spaces where we feel out of depth.
If you’re (even a bit) type A like me, this alone can drive you nuts…which is saying nothing of the rest of the stuff that troubles bring.
This past year has really shifted my opinion of James.
About seven months ago (maybe more…I’m losing track), I read a book that referenced James quite a bit. And surprisingly I wasn’t deterred by this. (Actually, it resulted in me doing an in-depth study of the book of James.)
To be completely frank, I figured since I was living in the land of troubles, I might as well learn how to navigate the land well.
It turns out there is A LOT of great stuff in there! (Go figure)
Really helpful, life enriching, spirit-empowering stuff.
As I’ve been praying about this New Year, a few words/themes continue to come up. One of which is the word “Boldly”
One of the verses that keeps rolling around in my heart is from my former foe, the book of James.
In the Message translation of James 1 starting in verse 5, it says:
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.
I love this verse, because not only does it give us the instruction to ask but it also gives the assurance that we’ll get an answer. And we won’t be losing face if we admit we “don’t know what we’re doing.”
Isn’t that just like God! So full of generosity and grace. Ready, willing, and able to help us!
I also love that this verse teaches us how to ask.
WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT
God, wants us to pray bold, audacious prayers, full of faith, trusting in Him completely.
God isn’t interested in any of this wimpy, maybe, sorta stuff.
People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. (Vs. 7-8 MSG)
Wow! That’s challenging.
This verse encourages me to get a little gutsy, harness my resolve and then get on my knees to pray BIG, BOLD, BELIEVING prayers.
I know it can seem scary to pray bold prayers, but God’s Word instructs us to do it!
In the words of Mark Batterson, “Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayer. He is offended by anything less.”
Part of being and living wholehearted is about living boldly.
So, BOLDLY is my word for the year.
I’m going to pray boldly, live boldly, lead boldly and dream boldly! ♥
Won’t you join me?