Proverbs 4 8-4-21

At the end of the day, all we have is Jesus. Beyond everything in this world, we have Him and His kingdom. He is worth everything!

10 Listen, my child, accept what I say, and the [good] years of your life will be many. 11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk [headed to His kingdom], your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble [see Isaiah 40:30-31].

Drug users know this secret: What we crave becomes our sole desire. A crack user (according to a regular crack user) experiences his biggest high the first time. From then on, he “chases the dragon” seeking a high like the first one. That craving consumes him even beyond his own personal health, to say nothing of family, friends, job, hygiene, etc.

The same is what happens when we experience Christ. The difference is that the more we experience Him, the greater the love, the joy, and the peace that He gives. It truly is never-ending! James, the half-brother of Jesus, eluded to this experience in his letter:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4 NLT

As I read this passage, I see James enduring troubles (eventually, he was martyred). During these troubles, as his faith was tested, he leaned on Jesus for peace and joy. He was rewarded with exceeding love, joy and peace. Thus, his endurance grew as James leaned all the more on Jesus during troubles. It is this kind of training that makes us perfect and complete, needing nothing of this world.

When we face trials of many kinds,
we will know that we have “arrived”

when those trials make us want Jesus.

It’s not that we will go looking for trouble, but we certainly will not run from it, for we know that in our adversity, as we lean on Jesus for peace and joy, He will give it in abundance. In fact, Jesus promised that we would receive life in abundance even as our physical life is being taken from us, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (LB). He told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die [spiritually]. Do you believe this?” Of course, Martha said, “Yes, Lord” (John 11:25-27).

EMT, firefighters, police, military, and other emergency personnel train for emergencies constantly so that when one comes, their training kicks in and they respond out of reflex instead of irrational reaction. We should view our Christianity the same way. We need to learn all we can about God, His Son, His Spirit, His mission, and what His “emergency protocols” are so that when one comes, we are not “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). It’s called, WISDOM, folks (James 1:5). Let’s train like our (spiritual) lives depend on it–because they do!

Because, at the end of the day, all we have is Jesus.

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power [and presence] of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Abba, may I come to know You more and more so that when the day comes that I give testimony about You at the cost of my life, I will do it with confidence and even excitement as Your Spirit envelops me with Your peace and Your love and Your joy. I look forward to the day, Abba. Amen.

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