James 1:12 (AMP) Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
I am blessed. I am happy. I am spiritually prosperous. I am favored by God. But… The word “but” nullifies everything in the previous statement. It is the very word that renders an apology useless in its own justification. I’m sorry but… It is the place saver for the condition that will limit the commitment. I would go to church but… Three letters can change everything in a single breath. I am blessed, but… I am happy, but… I am prosperous, but… I am favored by God, but… What is the limitation on your life today? What comes after the but…?
Steadfastness in the troubles, trials and temptations of life is only possible when Children of God remove the hindrances often breathed into life giving declarations. The little word “but” seems so small but it holds greater conviction than the statement just before. It is the obstacle of faith that must be overcome. The human heart will reveal places of doubt and disbelief and the enemy picks it up using it as a weapon. There is no weapon formed against us that will prosper, but… We are our own weapons of mass destruction as rebellious thoughts become firm beliefs keeping us locked in what-could-have-been rather than living in the realm of hope marked what has already been done.
The word “but” in the middle of a sentence is called a coordinating conjunction. Ever heard the Schoolhouse Rock song that goes “Conjunction Junction” – “Conjunction junction, what’s your function?” The function of “but” is to create the opposite. When “but” is placed as a conjunction, it represents a change of direction. It is a contradiction. When our attitude and actions are contradictory to the Lord, suddenly we have a crossroad. We have been crowned with victory by the Lord Jesus Christ. His Goodness is for the Land of the Living…but…
What is the contradiction that is confining God’s Best from flowing in you and through you today? What is keeping you from remaining steadfast in the Lord? It is the thing on the other side of your but… There was a man who was lame for more than 30 years. He would sit by the pool and wait for its stirring. Healing would have missed him altogether had Jesus had enough love and compassionate persistence for both of them. Jesus offered the man expectation. The man only made excuses. Jesus said to him, “Get up; pick up your pallet and walk.” The man was healed and fully recovered. (John 5) The man was reacting to his condition and years of disappointment. When he encountered Jesus, these weights would have kept them there except for the faithfulness of Jesus.
James 1:16-18 (AMP) Do not be misled, my beloved brothers and sisters. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes]. It was of His own will that He gave us birth [as His children] by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits of His creatures [a prime example of what He created to be set apart to Himself—sanctified, made holy for His divine purposes].
Thank you Jesus for Your Persistence and Perseverance in pursuing us with Your Goodness each day. New mercies are bestowed on us each day. His Love and Goodness always pursuing us. He offers us victory. His Power works best in my weakness. How crazy is that? Because I am weak. I fail every single day. Simple obedience is often an overwhelming task. I am not talking about religious rules and regulations. I love God. I love Jesus. I love His Spirit at work in me. I am to love everyone else as well. To lay down my life (pride, bitterness, offense) and love unsparingly. It is easier to do the right things. Wear the right clothes. Avoid the so-called vices. To live a religious life than to strive for a righteous one. Why? I must surrender all my “buts” to replace them with periods. I am loved. I am convinced. I am steadfast. I am blessed. I am victorious. I am prosperous. I am successful. I belong to Jesus. I am an overcomer.
I was made with divine purpose that supersedes human ability. He set me apart for Himself. I am in a relationship with Jesus Christ who gave birth to me by His Word. When I receive Christ, I receive His Word. He is the Word. Now I can have confidence and conviction in every circumstance of life that I am saved, healed, delivered and perfectly blessed. God does lie or change His Mind. He set the sun to rises in the east every single day because He ordained it to be so and as it rounds the earth it will set in the west every single day. If creation is obedient to God, I must be also without reservation or excuses. Simple acts of obedience change the course of our life completely.
James 1:22-25 (AMP) But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. For if anyone only listens to the word without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets what he looked like. But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].
Who do you see when you look in the mirror each day? When God looks at us, He sees His Precious Son. To live my life in accordance with His Word, Will and Way is not a form of restriction or limitation but to live in the liberty of His Love. No longer bound by the penalty of sin or imprisoned by darkness. I can live in the Light of His Love and showers of blessing each day. Confidence in Christ is the beginning of a supernatural life leaving behind the excuses that once kept us from Him. When I look in the mirror, who do I see? Do I see a beloved Child of the Living God? Or do the wrinkles stand out along with every other imperfection? To be steadfast begins with a conviction. To believe means the eradication of doubt. To prove that God is real and trust valid requires a life of faith in action. It is not an outward display but inward belief that no matter what God is good. His Love for me authentic. His Strength for me enough. His Grace always sufficient. His Promise coming. His Blessing given. Prosperity growing from the inside out. This must become our vocabulary to be a firm foundation. To walk confidently in His Love must be more than a confession, it must become our confidence.
I Corinthians 15:58 (AMP) Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].
Be steadfast. Immovable. Always excelling in the work of the Lord. Hmm… I have always read this and believed it to mean the “work” I do for the Lord, but what if it really means the work that He is doing in me? God is faithful. He is good. He is going to accomplish everything in me that He decided from the beginning. There is nothing I can do to move the heart and hand of the Lord because He is already totally in love and completely committed to every promise and blessing ordained in my life. He wrote it all out before I was born. (Psalm 139) The commitment of steadfast perseverance is not about me performing. It is about the Lord perfecting me and making me the masterpiece that He designed and declared I would be. If I do my best – the Lord does the rest. If I continually press in to the Presence of God simply obeying his every leading – I will have the life that He promised because He is faithful, persevering, and steadfast.
Are you frustrated today? Do you desire a prosperous life? Do you want to be blessed? Who doesn’t? Everyone wants a good life. We all desire good things. I have come to the place in my life where the suffering of self is really the death of our flesh. When we decide that God is going to do exactly what He said that He would – our faith makes us unstoppable. The impossible becomes an ongoing lifestyle simply because we decided to remove all the “buts” and become confident in the Lord. The God of ALL GRACE is the one who imparts blessing and favor on our life. There is nothing I could ever do to deserve or earn the life that I have been given. He is the One who will complete me, confirm me, strengthen me and establish me. All I must do is believe. Believe enough to stop living in lies and excuses. To be steadfast in believing and stepping out in simple obedience day by glorious day!
I Peter 5:10 (AMP) After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].