I recently finished a stretch in which I studied more than 300 hours over three months (while working and raising a family) to obtain licenses required for my job. To fail these exams would have meant disqualification from the job. I had a lot riding on a four-letter letter word - PASS or FAIL.

Unfortunately, I’m apt to apply the same kind of mentality to my relationship with Jesus.

There’s certainly plenty of opportunity for it. How are you doing sharing your faith? How is your prayer life? Your Bible reading? Which four-letter word would Jesus give you? If you’re feeling this way today, I want you to know that this is not the Jesus who loves you. Let me reframe.

Here’s what I’m observing: testing has much more to do with how I relate than with how I perform. I’ve been in my job for about 3 months now and many of my tasks still feel clunky as I try to avoid errors. I’m trying to perform while trying to gain mastery over the subject matter. Mastery here means that I can relate to the material in a fluid and natural way. These daily little tests reveal where I am in the relationship process.

When we sin, Jesus offers not condemnation, but an invitation to relate at a deeper level. In what area of your life are you needing to reframe? Where shame resides, an invitation is waiting to be opened. How is Jesus inviting you to relate with him today?

Heavenly Father, sometimes the tests of life feel very unwelcome. When they come, would you help me reframe them? They exist as an opportunity to relate to you in a deeper, more intimate way.

Throughout This Day: Whenever I feel guilty or ashamed, I will come to Jesus to talk about the source of those feelings and receive his forgiveness and grace for any and all "failings".

Tags: Daily Devotional James 1
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