Sunday, October 30, 2011

James Week 4 - Walk It Out


I just love this song about trusting God.

Our next section of study is from James 1:19-27. We will finish up the first chapter this week. This section is actual instructions about living. Really take some time to read the verses and let them sink in.

We start with verses 19-20 which state this, "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."

So let us break this down. We are told to be
1-Be quick to hear.
When you listen to people talk to you do you listen to hear them? I mean really hear their heart? Or are you more interested in planning your next statement to them? Being quick to hear is really hearing someone. This is more important because we need to be other centered not self centered.

2-Be slow to speak.
Do you evaluate your words before they come out of your mouth or do you just blurt them out? Words are powerful and should be considered before said. Be slow in speaking. Consider Ecclesiastes 5:2, "Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few." Also, "And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak" (Matthew 12:36). If we considered these things we would be slower to share our thoughts.

3-Be slow to anger. 
Anger is not sin, the Bible tells us in our anger to not sin (Ephesians 4:26). Do you blow your top easily? If things do not go your way do you lose your temper? Would people define you as someone who is hot-headed? We are encouraged to be slow to anger. God is a great example of this all throughout the Bible.

Then we learn that the "anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." Simply put, when we get angry we may think it is justified however we do not always know the whole picture. We cannot see everything like God does and our anger can never be unbiased. Our anger or our attempts for justice cannot produce the same thing as God's righteousness. In the end all things will be exposed to the light. Justice will fully be served. Now we just need to trust God to handle it the best way. We cannot see all that happens. We must trust Him with this. 
Next we are told to put away things that make us filthy (v.21) which would be anything that dishonors God. Also take off any remaining wickedness which means things that still remain from who we use to be prior to Christ. It may be that desire to break the rules or injure someone. Remember this letter was originally written to those who were driven away from their homes. There would have been a great temptation to get even and take things into their own hands. Handling it by revenge or hatred. That is not God's way of justice. We must get control of those fleshly thoughts and put them off.

Instead we are to realize that God chose us because He gave us His word. He planted it into our hearts. It saves us. Upon receiving it we become part of His family. We are completely His, completely forgiven, completely justified. Yet we are in a process of being made like Him.

So how do we receive His word? This next section tells us how. Verses 22-25.
When you hear God's word what do you do? Do you hear it and think that was nice and walk on later to just forget it? Or do you really think about it? Do you think how can I apply this to my life today? How can this change me? How can this make me more like Him? There is a blessing when you do that. Otherwise you cheat yourselves. You are like the man who built his house on the sand.

When you look into the mirror usually you are looking into it to do something otherwise it is a quick glance that is easily forgotten. Look into the word to do something.

Now this part may hurt a bit. Essentially it says if you claim to be a God-fearer and you cannot control your tongue then your worship is worthless. Ouch! I want my worship to mean something to God. I do not want to be a hypocrite. It reminds me of James 3:8-10, " 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! " We will get into those verses in detail later but really that is true how can we fear God and curse man in the image He has made? What kind of worship is that?

Then this chapter ends like this, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."  Showing Him worship is through acts of love toward others. He cares for those who need help. Practically played out it is looking after those who are in distress specifically orphans and widows. It is difficult now to be an orphan or a widow but during that time period it was especially hard. They did not have a state system to provide for them. They had nothing unless someone stepped up to take care of them.

And finally it ends with refusing to let the world corrupt you. How can you be in the world but not of the world? There is a different you know. There are things you just must not do because they make you a friend of the world. Love people stay away from the sin. Don't judge people that is God's job. Don't participate in their sin to try to win them or befriend them. God opens people's eyes.  Be a light. Live it out.

How can we pray for one another this week in these practical ways?

1 comment:

Shelley said...

Hello you ... loved your thoughts here ... I find the tongue a challenge - to not gossip in a 'christian' way. As we hear the Word and receive it - it has to take effect and hopefully bring much conviction to me as I speak. I love how practical James is x - Thank you friend.

Please pray that we find good homes for our puppies and please pray for an unspoken request for our church family - thank you!

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