Two Friends & The Book of James

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

I know I’ve mentioned to you before about some of my times in re:generation at church. I have been in it for around six months now and we are just getting heavily into step 4-Inventory. I must confess, this is the most difficult and hurtful part of the course for me since I started. We are taking inventory of our lives regarding our sins and sinful patterns. The book says of this part, “We make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Holy Cow!!!! That’s an understatement, if I ever read one!

It has been somewhat surprising of some of the past, and present sins that the Lord has brought to life. Some of them I thought I had dealt with many years ago, and have done so, yet they still come back to my memory. One thing that has been a part of my life, and probably the main reason I came to re:gen, is that I have a tendency to hold on to grudges against people who I feel have wronged me in some way. I know some people that can take a “so what” attitude to wrongs. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.

Anyway, I was reading the other day in the book of James, chapter 3, verses 13-14: “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in gentleness and wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.” I don’t know why, but for some reason when I read that, my heart melted a little. I have always sought to have a gentle spirit that serves God and wants no recognition or thought of self. I have also been aware I am far from that. But reading this the other day spurred me to really pray and seek God to change me in the areas I wrote down in my Regeneration Journal.

I have a couple of friends, whom I have never actually met in person. But they are friends that I trust and will share things with, and they reciprocate by sharing about themselves. One of these friends lives on the East coast and I them know through their sister and Facebook. Yes, I selectively chat on Facebook. Oh my!! The other friend I met through GFA. This friend is on the West coast and is a newer friend than the first friend. Both these friendships started in a strange way but I believe God is in it. As one of these friends mentioned to me the other day, the way I meet people is a little “unconventional, but so what.” I told them that “unconventional” would describe my whole life.

Anyway, this friend shared a prayer request with me a week or so ago that I wrote in my prayer notebook. It was this: “Pray that God would shine through me and for me to draw attention to God and not myself. Also for me to serve and not to be served.” Since I received that prayer request, I can’t get it out of my mind. I have prayed similar things for my own life but this friend has a way of putting thoughts, sometimes my thoughts, into words that I can’t. That is what happened here. I have been praying this request for myself as well as praying for my friend.

Just a couple days ago, I wrote my other friend an email and quoted James 3:13-14 just as an encouragement or challenge to them. I ended the email with, “Oh, to live this way.” My friend responded with a quote of their own, “Oh, for more of Him and less of me!  To no longer have any jealous or selfish thoughts. Until I started to do some serious heart work and dig deep to find the sin in my life, I couldn’t see the extent to which sin was holding me in bondage. When I got to the heart of my sin, I felt as if my eyes had just been opened to see the sin to which I’d been blind for so long.  And I realized it all was rooted in SELF.” Please take a minute and reread that. Both my friends have a way of putting thoughts into words that have a way of just gripping me and bringing me to repentance.

So, let me go back to my original purpose for this writing today. The inventory I have been taken has shown me how much into SELF I am! I have at least one person I need to get with and ask forgiveness and by God’s grace, I will do that soon. As I said, this part of re:generation is not fun, nor easy. But it lets God’s regenerative power come to life. At least it does in me. I pray that God will rip the selfishness out of my life, no matter what it takes. Friends, I have said this before and you are probably tired of hearing it. But I’ll say it again. There is so little time and, at least for me, I need to get out of thinking of SELF and start putting Philippians 2:3-4 at work in my life.

So, that’s it for now. As I write this I’m not sure this should even be in a public blog. I’ll let the pastors decide that. But I know at least some the Stonepoint members read these blogs. My prayer is that Stonepoint will be known as a church that loves. Only then will the world around us be attracted to the love and salvation of Jesus Christ. SELF must go! May God give us the grace to take this to heart.  God bless you all!

 

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