Meward = Worldliness & Sorrow
Godward = Godliness & Joy
Each day we have choices between living meward or Godward.
In The Missing Piece Lee Ezell tells of vascillating between giving birth to her child conceived by rape or aborting that child. A godly woman told her: “So often the wrong choice is easy at first and leads to great pain later, and the right choice is hard at first, but leads to eternal joy.” Here is Lee and her daughter, the only child she ever had. Together they had a ministry of defending the innocent conceived by rape. Lee is with the Lord now — and must be so thankful for her choice.
In the same way, Wesley Hill, who lives with same-sex attraction, was strengthened to live a celibate life due to the words of C. S. Lewis who said the lie of the enemy is that we cannot be happy unless we go our own way, but the truth is obedience leads to true joy. He has found that to be true. His story is in Washed and Waiting.
Charlotte Bronte, author and child of God, tells the story of Jane Eyre. Movies reverse Jane’s choice because they cannot imagine being happy by doing it God’s way. But in the book, Jane chose to go Godward. She is tortured in refusing Rochester, but she does it. Here are lines from the book:
I was experiencing an ordeal: a hand of fiery iron grasped my vitals. Terrible moment: full of struggle, blackness, burning! Not a human being that ever lived could wish to be loved better than I was loved: and him who thus loved me I absolutely worshipped: and I must renounce love and idol.
JANE: “Mr. Rochester, I will not be yours.” . . .
ROCHESTER: “All happiness will be torn away with you. What then is left? . . . Where turn for a companion, and for some hope?”
JANE: “Do as I do: trust in God and yourself. Believe in heaven. Hope to meet again there.” . . .
ROCHESTER: “Then you condemn me to live wretched, and to die accursed?” his voice rose.
JANE: “I advise you to live sinless, and I wish you to die tranquil.”
These are all big decisions, but James (and Paige) help us to consider our daily decisions. Every day I have decisions about how I use my time, my tongue, my money, my eating…is it meward or Godword? Will it lead to sorrow or joy? Paige said we should really just hold two days before us: today and the day of Christ’s return.
How will I live today in light of that reality?
And when suffering intensifies as it did for African American slaves, and is for believers in Ukraine and Turkey and missionaries in hostile lands — how can one persist? We “steal away” to Jesus and remember we don’t have long to stay here.
Word document for downloading questions:
Thursday: The Myth of Autonomy
This section reminded me of a mother who signed all her letters to her daughter, Lorinda, with ITLW and ITHT (If the Lord wills & If the Lord tarries)
Watch about the first twenty-one minutes up to when Paige says: “The autonomy is a myth, sadly the arrogance is not.”
1. Read James 4:13-15 and summarize it in one or two sentences.
2. What is the deception we tend to live under? Why does Paige call this “practical atheism?”
3. She said God is not telling us not to plan, but what? (See Proverbs 16:9) How should we apply this? (She told a story of a big conference she planned and how upset she was when it was canceled by an ice storm.)
4. She said we pray when we have no idea what to do, but if we think we know what to do (as when she has notes on a passage she will be teaching on) we don’t pray. We often don’t include the Lord in our decisions. What little daily decisions do you tend to make without the Lord? List them.
5. Did anything else stand out to you from this section?
Friday: The Arrogance of Autonomy
Watch for about another 7 minutes up to when she says “The greatest threat to true faith is our wealth — not our suffering.” (Short lesson today so you may want to work ahead!)
6. Read James 4:16-17
A. What does James tell us in verse 16? Thoughts or applications?
B. We often think of sin in terms of doing bad things. What does James tell us in verse 17? How could you apply this today?
7. What is her husband Reagan’s prayer each morning? Significance?
8. What else stands out to you from this section and why?
Saturday: Reckoning of Stuff
Watch another 14 minutes until she gets to “reckoning of status.”
9. Read James 5:1-6. (Change in tone!)
A. Paige explains, using Isaiah, what an Old Testament woe or apostrophe is, using Isaiah as an example. What is it?
B. This is what James is doing. Though this letter is written to believers, he is addressing unbelievers here, but, for the sake of believers. What woe does he pronounce on them and why?
C. Be prayerful and ask how this could apply to you. Diagnostic questions to consider:
- What in your home is rotting from dis-use? (What we see as security God sees as hoarding
- What are you saving for your children or someone that they probably won’t want?
- Which of your things may be an idol? (She says he is not condemning wealth but the place of wealth in our life.)
- How is the Lord leading you to apply this section?
10. She told a story from Tolstoy and then asked: Are we operating with an economics of enough? What does this mean?
11. In the second part of 4:3 James says “in the last days.” Paige said that “last days” means from the time of Christ’s ascension to His return. This reminded me of our Revelation study in which we learned the same. Therefore we are in the last days. (You may or may not agree — but would love to hear your thoughts.)
12. What else stood out to you from this section?
Sunday: God Hunt
13. How did you experience God in your life this week?
Monday: Reckoning of Status
Listen for another 12 minutes until she pivots to the Godward life.
Smarts versus Cheating
14. Read James 5:4-6 again.
A. What does it say?
B. How much of our wealth is at the expense of the powerless? (Examine how you pay any workers, tip, or charge for goods or services?)
Success versus Fattening
A. How get fat by taking in more calories than we need — have you learned to eat in moderation? If so, share what has helped you.
B. We have normalized luxury but there will be a demise. How does God speak to you here? Have you had any success in living in moderation here? (Vacations, homes, clothes, etc…) If so, share what has helped you.
C. What does Jesus tell us in Matthew 6:20? How does this speak to you?
15. What else stands out to you from this section?
Tuesday: Destination of the Godward Life
Listen to the end.
16. Read James 5:7-11
A. What are we to look forward to according to verse 7? How steady is your gaze on this?
B. What illustration does he give of the farmer? Point?
C. What does he tell us not to do and why according to verse 9? How are you doing?
D. What illustrations does he give through the prophets and Job? And what is the promise in verse 11?
17. She said Christianity, unlike other religions, is not based on ideas but events. How did Jesus come in His first coming? How will He in His second? How does this impact you?
18. Paul Tripp said God’s commands only make sense if you have forever in view. That is what helps us with holiness, stewardship, sacrifice. How has this helped you?
19. She closed with a story of a missionary coming home on the same ship as Teddy Roosevelt. What happened? What was the point?
20. What else stood out to you from this section?
21. What is your take-a-way and why?