Saturday, April 21, 2012
James- let's just say it how it is.
Wow. I'm always convicted when I read James and I always find something new. Here are some of what has really touched me and reminded me what I should look like as a Christian,( but not what I DO look like as of now). James 3:13 " If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom." Now, I always think of good words as taking care of those around me that have needs, or doing kind things for other,( going that extra mile). But it's not ONLY that. In James 2:21-24 says, " Don't you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: 'Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.' He was even called the friends of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone." So here we have the concept that 'good works' is also stepping out on faith in obedience to God. Now we continue with the last thing we left off with, which was wisdom. James 3:17, " But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to help others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere." Noow, There was mention in part of the passages above that wisdom is being a peace maker and a bit further down it is mentioned that those who are not peacemakers are jealous and envious. James 4: 2,3 says, "....Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are wrong-you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friends of the world, you make yourself and enemy of God." Well then, from jealousy and trying to be a friend to the world, we move on to how we speak of each other,( tying right back in to peace makers and living honorably and humbly). This passage is always a 'shame on you' passage for me. James 4:11, " Don't speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God's law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you...". Yikes. We are not to sit around and look at others to 'make sure' that they are following God's law,( loving Him and others). Hmm, that's a hard one. How do you juggle that with the verse that says we are to judge the Body to help each other not fall into sin, or to repent of it if we have? I think maybe we are talking heart motives here. One way is trying to judge in a prideful way and the other is looking at what's going on in the Body through God's eyes/law and trying to keep each other accountable. Anyway, these passages are so beautiful. Truly worthy goals to attain to with God's help. Let's keep traveling this narrow road and keep our eyes on Jesus. He will perfect us, if we let him.