Since I really didn’t want to learn how to play basketball I tried to be invisible in Physical Education class. But the teacher had us form a line with the idea of teaching us how to do a free throw. Eventually, it was my turn. I tossed the ball in the direction of the basket and headed to the back of the line.
“All right, Boekhoff. Get back here and do it over.”
Argh! I thought and returned. I was no longer invisible, but the main show.
“Throw the ball and put some effort into it.”
I made another half-hearted attempt and headed for the back of the line. He hollered at me again. I said, “But, I’m trying.”
He had me do it over until I actually put all I had into it. I still missed. “I’m trying,” was really a copout for “stop nagging me.”
James is stepping on toes without concern of offending anyone in this passage. He shows that God does not want an “I’m trying” attitude, but instead actual doing. When He sees a bona fide heart-felt action, He meets halfway. He helps and encourages.
All James is describing is repentance. He is saying to turn my attitude inside out, make a u-turn with my motivations, and clean up my actions. To restore my relationship with God, I need to come with a heavy heart. A heart filled with regret and a desire to change. I need to come before God in humbleness and He will lift me up.
“I’m trying,” doesn’t cut it with God. If I want God’s blessing I can’t have a rebellious self-serving heart. If I don’t want to fight and fuss and fret, I have to put self aside.
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. ” James 4:8-10.
© copyright 2016 Kevin T Boekhoff