Sometimes I wonder if God wants me to keep blogging because it’s so hard on my relationship with Him. The temptations to worship things other than Him are overwhelming. I was wondering about that this morning so I turned to James for help.
Usually James 1:2 is translated, “Count it all joy when you encounter various trials.” But almost everywhere else in the Bible, that Greek word for trials (peirasmos) is translated temptation.
So I want to look at James 1 today in this light: Count it all joy when you encounter various temptations. A crazy thought.
Bible Study: The Temptations of Blogging
1. The Bible lists many different ways we can minister to others but some gifts are rewarded by our culture more than others. For example, the woman who brings casseroles to the sick will never find herself on the national “best helpers” list making millions of dollars. Do you think there’s more temptation when you’re involved in a ministry that could potentially be rewarded with money and fame? Why or why not?
2. The advantage of a helping the sick ministry is that everyone loves you and you’re rarely criticized. Do you think the possibility of being criticized in ministry brings up any new temptations? If so, what?
3. What are your own temptations in the area of blogging and/or ministry? (If you need ideas, read my posts on the Temptations of Christian Bloggers and the Lies of Ministry.)
4. According to James 1:14, our temptations are fueled by lusts or intense desires. Circle any of the following desires you experience with platform building: approval, fame, money, security, greatness, fairness, respect, love, validation, comfort, the easy life, lack of conflict, acceptance/non-rejection.
5. Now go through the list and number them in order of how much you want them. If you’re struggling spiritually with platform building, you could work on the first one on your list rather than tackling all of them at once. I think this is what I’m going to start doing.
6. Often trials reveal our weaknesses in ways a carefree life doesn’t. Is the trial of platform building revealing any weaknesses in you? If so, what? When you look at your non-writing life, do you also see those weaknesses affecting other areas of your life? Explain.
7. Read James 1:2-5 and Hebrews 12:1-11. What are the possible benefits of the temptations you’re going through? List as many as possible.
8. Do you think some day you might look back on this trial and thank God that platform building was so difficult? What would you need to do to get the benefits of the temptations? (Hebrews 12:1-15)
9. The Greek word for endurance in James 1:3 is hupomeno, a compound word that literally means “to abide under.” God wants us to run to Him in the midst of temptation and to abide in Him and His Word. What would happen if you did that?
10. What is God saying to you through James 1:16-17?
Note: For ideas on how to fight the temptations of blogging, check out the series on blogging and ministry and the renewing of the mind project tab at the top of this blog.
Elizabeth Archer says
My ministry often involves sending someone encouragement, along with praying for them. Many of the people I do this for, I have never met face to face! Many times (more often than I’d like), when I encourage someone, I may not hear from them again. And then “I” get discouraged. These are times when I have to trust God. That He is working in their lives. It is not about me. He will use it for good. Often the temptation is to put this person “lower” on my prayer list. Oh how I hate being so human! LOL!
So I’m glad that so far- after about 9 years now, I’ve been very anonymous about what I do. If I had lots of attention, it would not be good for my walk. I’ve had attention for other things and its hard not to let it go to my head!! Keeping my eyes on Him!
I remember going to a writer’s conference and listening to one of the top Christian agents talking about the writers he represented. He said that money changed almost all of them. I’m so thankful for all the lessons God is currently teaching me through obscurity. I think ministry in general is dangerous whether we’re culturally successful or not but I’m guessing there would be additional temptations with fame. I guess I’m glad I’m where I’m at!
Ngina Otiende says
Mmhhh…great food for thought. ‘some gifts are rewarded in our culture more than others” . After doing my post this week on why I am following passion (in essence what i feel God wants me to do), and not gurus (i.e what i think others want me to do) and having someone else blog something similar today (lincolnparks.com), and now reading your post, my eyes are just popping open. There so many levels when it comes to following Jesus and His purpose for our lives. Sometimes we think we have or motives all figured out..until God opens up yet another level He wants us to improve on. I’ll spend some time going through the questions and looking deeper. Thanks for this. it’s very timely for me.
Just read Lincoln’s blog – it was great – and I also really enjoyed yours and the all the comments it generated. Sounds like we are all growing through our blogging – that’s great! I agree that there are so many levels. I feel like God takes one layer off and then – surprise – there’s a whole ‘nother (how would you spell that?) layer underneath the first one that I didn’t even know was there. Thinking about some of my friends’ gifts of service really helped me get rid of my expectations that I should be rewarded for my work – still not all the way there yet, but making progress.
Dan Black on Leadership says
Temptations and trial can be challenging and difficult but if handled successfully can build our character and endurance. That’s the reward if handles well. The book of James is my favorite book in the Bible so I really enjoyed reading the passage.s
I love reading James as well. It always encourages me to handle my temptations and trials well. I did the study again this morning and revised it a bit, but it was really encouraging to list all the benefits I could potentially get from the trials and temptations of blogging.
Loren Pinilis says
Number 4 was particularly insightful to me. Our desires fuel everything, so it’s worth taking some time to think deeply about how they might be leading us astray.
That one helped me as well. I found my top desire to be acceptance – so I started working on it this morning. I’m excited to see what God will teach me.
Sorry, I left my comment on how great and moving this Bible study is for me on the wrong post.