Surfing Through James

Day 4 of 5 • This day’s reading


How to get what you want

It’s a beautiful offshore clean swell and the sandbanks are lined up in an amazing way. You can see so many great waves from the beach. You excitedly get suited up then paddle out with a lot of familiar faces in the line-up.

But they are not smiling. It’s dog eat dog out there. The water is churned up like burley to a shark – and some are being eaten! Everyone wants their waves and will do whatever it takes to get their share… or more.

Our consumer society – our whole world economy – is based on the desire to get what we want, when we want it. You and I live in an “instant gratification” world.

In chapter 4 of his letter, James challenges us to question what is driving all this and to respond in a very different way to getting what we need.  

  1. Our conflicts regarding our wants come from within us, not outside us. It’s easy to blame outside inequalities for conflict, and there is truth to this. But mostly, jealousy, evil desires, and fighting come from a restless dissatisfaction with what we have or don’t have. It’s an inner issue.  

  2. Our allegiance is what determines our wants and how we meet them. What we want in the first place is determined by what we value. Friendship with the world means wanting the things of the world and the world's way of getting them! Our consumer-capitalist competitive society is all about increasing my pleasure and my possessions. Are you aligned with this?

However, friendship with God means wanting the things of God and God's way of getting them. It's more about a life transformed by holiness, valuing relationships, investing in service. We can trust God to supply our basic needs whilst getting on with His greater purposes. Are you aligned with this?   

3. Our humble trust in God versus pride in ourselves is the vital issue. Ultimately it comes down to who you’re going to trust in: God or yourself. Will you ask, trust, seek God with pure motives? Or will you envy, fight, and take according to all the power and scheming you can muster?

Think about this in the line-up next surf. Will God send you waves? Maybe. But if you catch fewer waves, you might catch more conversations and enjoy surfing on a new level.

Then apply this in your broader life: rather than always hungering for more, allow your allegiance to Jesus to determine your wants – and ask Him to meet them.