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James 1:2–8 ‘But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.’ (vv6–7)

James’ message is simple because God’s way is simple but as humans we lean towards complexity. We constantly make mountains out of molehills. God’s way (Matt. 5:48) is plain but we insist on complicating it with both reason and sinfulness. There’s a lot that competes for our allegiance, and God invites us to make our choices for He’s no enforcer. When we simplify our approach and live God’s way our reward is the ‘crown of life’ (James 1:12). Taking hold of this crown is a disciple’s life’s ambition. However, ambition costs nothing; only its realisation demands total attention and maximum effort. We need constantly to ask ourselves, what distracts us from our godly ambition?

Many times we’ve noted that faith operates in the realm of the unseen. It is a promise, which is only partially fulfilled within our mortal experience. It can only be fully realised once we pass across death’s threshold, one reason death need hold no fears for us, only for those we leave behind and who grieve our loss. So we are faced daily with this question; am I motivated more by what I can see, experience and touch, or by God’s promise – unseen, unfelt and immaterial? This is why our will is the most important aspect of our personhood when it comes to pursuing God. And our will is nurtured and nourished through prayer, for it alone offers the difference between success and failure in our walk of faith.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: 1 Kings 18:16–21; Isa. 29:11–16; Matt. 21:18–22; Eph. 4:11–16.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How do you wrestle with the simple message of Scripture? What prevents you from remaining single-minded, day in and day out?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, strengthen the resolve of my will to follow You faithfully and completely in every sphere of my life. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.