Not just a last resort

Have you ever had one of “those friends” that is only your friend when they need something? You know, the kind of friend that when you see their text on your phone you immediately wonder what favor they are asking of you this time? I have. As much as I try to show love like Jesus would, I struggle with kindness when I feel like I am being taken advantage of.

Yet I am this way to Jesus sometimes.

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It’s easy to turn to God only when we need something. Then when things are great He’s not on our minds and we forget that He’s the reason things are great. He’s the one that should be praised.

Everyone goes through trials at some point in life. It’s part of living in a sinful world. As Christians, we should always turn to God when life is not going our way and we realize we can’t do it on our own; but what about when things are going well? Are we faithful even when we momentarily feel like we have it all together?

I think we all fall into this spiritual rut to some extent. It’s not intentional but it happens. I cringe when I think about the fact that when things are bad I turn to God for help, but when things turn around I leave Him high and dry. I love the Lord far too much to dump Him to the curb like that!

God knows we are prone to do this. He even discusses in James how He uses trials to grow us, to test and strengthen our faith in Him.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4 (NIV)

You may be in a trial right now, and believe me, I know that this is the last verse you want to hear when you are in a tough situation. How can we find joy amidst a trial? If you are in this position, I encourage you to think through ways in which you have grown spiritually or ways that your faith has been strengthened during this hard time. The Lord loves you and cares for you. Stick with Him, He will not forsake you!

Then James also tells us to praise Him during the good times.

 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” James 5:13 (NIV)

James is my husband’s favorite book in the Bible. More and more I see why! He doesn’t sugar coat anything, he is honest and to the point. I like that. James makes it plain and simple: Look to Jesus in bad times AND good times. God deserves all the glory, all the time.

In the last couple of weeks I have challenged myself to look to Christ during all situations. He’s the first one I turn to when things get tough, but when He blesses me and times turn for the better, sometimes it’s easy to get busy in the mornings when my quiet time should take priority. I want to grow closer to the Lord each and every day, despite my circumstances.

I encourage you to join me in this challenge. Are you demonstrating your faith in Christ in all circumstances? Are you praising Him and giving Him the glory even when times are good…or just turning to Him when everything is falling apart?