How do you see yourself when you look in the "mirror"?
Do you see yourself as a sinner unworthy of the grace of God and so you are preoccupied with your sins and/or your repentance?
Do you see yourself as a victim, a "poor me baby" who has many problems in his or her life, and so you are preoccupied with your trials and tribulations?
Do you see yourself as persecuted?
Do you see yourself as being a good Christian because you go to church and do good humanitarian deeds and basically treat others according to the golden rule, and perhaps you are preoccupied with your holiness?
Think about your answer as to how you see yourself because in today's study we are going to see what it means to be a doer of the word!
Yes, the time is at hand in this final generation, "for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh", as James says in James 5:8, and these times demand that you know the answer to the first question.
James told us his answer to the question in the very first verse of the letter he wrote to the 12 scattered tribes of this final generation.
Here it is again, just in case you missed it:
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ...
That of course is why he can easily say "count your trials and tribulations as joy"!
Have you not read of all the trials and testings of those servants like Abraham and David and Daniel and Paul, etc., etc., who have served the living God?
Were you not thrilled and overjoyed when you read about their endurance and victory in overcoming?
So then, we really count their temptations as joy, don't we?
What will be written in your book concerning your trials and tribulations?
Why should it be a surprise to some Christians that there is a time when all servants of God are tempted?
There came a time when even Jesus Christ was tempted in the wilderness for 40* days by the devil!
So let us learn from Jesus' example and know full well that it is not God who does the tempting.
Between Satan and our own fleshly lusts there is plenty of temptation to go around.
* Did you know that numbers in scripture have spiritual significance? They help us to partake of that "hidden manna", giving us a deeper level of understanding in our Father's Word. For instance, each time the number 40 is used throughout the Bible it denotes probation or testing. It rained 40 days and 40 nights at the time of the flood. Israel wandered in the wilderness 40 years. Moses was on the mountain 40 days. Christ was tempted of satan 40 days in the wilderness, etc.
Here are a few other numbers and their meanings:
5 = Grace
6 = Man
7 = Spiritual Perfection
8 = New Beginnings
10 = Law or Ordinal Perfection as in the 10 Commandments
12 = Governmental Perfection as in 12 Tribes, 12 Apostles, etc.
So, do you think there is ever a time we should blame our Father for tempting us with evil?
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Of course not.
So let's be mature and not try to blame our heavenly Father for our problems and trials and tribulations, but rather recognize that God does allow Satan to tempt us, the one who is the evil tempter.
Remember how our brother Job suffered great affliction and testing at the hand of Satan?
Satan thought for sure that Job would crack and curse God to His face and blame Him.
But you know what?
God knew his servant Job could handle it, and He knows you can handle your temptations too.
1 Cor. 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
God is faithful and gives us the victory if we stay in Him.
Of course we can let our own lusts and desires occupy our minds to the point we draw away from the Word of God!
It can happen!
So don't let it!
Exercise discipline in His Word so you can walk in the Spirit and then you won't take action on those lusts and desires.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
I remember one poor fellow I counseled who was laden with so much guilt it wasn't funny, though I must confess that the story he told was.
It went like this:
"It all started when I was about age 13 or 14", he said, "and the church I attended was one where people kneel and stand and kneel and stand, and so forth. Well," he continued on, "in the process of all this kneeling and standing I began to notice that some women's behinds were better looking than others. But I was told that Mat. 5:28 meant that to look upon a woman to notice those sorts of things were the same as committing adultery with her in your heart and so from early on I began to feel guilty whenever I looked upon a lovely woman."
Lust is to "long for" with "eyes of seduction" and to "put the make on" someone.
Those actions are not the components of admiration.
Here's the Strong's definition of lust:
lust = epithumia, ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah, Greek 1939; from Greek 1937 (epithumeo); a longing (especially for what is forbidden) :- concupiscence, desire, lust (after).
Again, don't be drawn from the Word, but stay walking in the Spirit and your lusts will not conceive and bear bad fruit.
 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
For you see, "the wages of sin is death [the death of the soul]; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
The choice is all yours!
You cannot be double minded and serve lust and self and at the same time do the will of God, that is if you want eternal life!
Here are the simple words of advice from James, a servant of God who calls us his beloved brethren:1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Can we talk plainly?
"Do not draw away from the Word of God and screw-up your life!"
You see, it doesn't matter who you are, even if you are handicapped (which itself can be a gift used to serve God), you've got certain gifts and talents which your Father gave to you.
What you do with those gifts will depend on how you see yourself?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
We have all been given different gifts of the spirit from the "Father of lights" Who gives us those gifts so we can be a light unto others and to the world around us.
Are you child of that light?
I hope you are not hiding under a basket somewhere.
How do you see yourself when you look into the mirror of His Word?
Also, James makes it a point to tell us that the light of His the truth is eternal, which is forever, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, which is what "no variableness" means.
In other words, His light is timeless and does not phase in orbit or "cast a shadow on a sundial".
 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
How do you see yourself?
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
So what James is saying to his beloved brothers and sisters scattered abroad in these last days, "take the cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth and don't be confrontational, argumentative, or vengeful about the Word of God."
Some people as soon as someone tells them something they disagree with they begin to get angry and argumentative.
 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Your anger and impatience display ungodliness, hence unrighteousness, and you will appear as a hypocrite indeed.
Who's going to take you seriously and listen to you then?
Had you taken the cotton out of your ears and stuck it in your mouth you might have even learned something.
It is the immature Christian who expects people to become convinced when and while they are talking to them and "proving his or her point".
Do you expect a seed to germinate and grow right before your eyes at the moment you plant it?
Or should you expect to walk away and let time and mother nature do their thing?
The mature Christian should expect that the seeds of truth will germinate in a little while, at a later time, even if they are planted in the most fertile ground.
 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
If so, then get rid of it and get into His Word, for as we just read, therein lies your salvation!
In this final generation when the multi-media distractions promoting filthiness and perversion are broadcast by the agents for the prince and power of the air right into our very living rooms, it is ever so important to stay focused in His Word!
To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits;
to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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