Journey Through James – Day 5

“If anyone thinks he is religious ad does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:26-27)

Too many “believers” often make statements espousing their disdain for religion. This is usually targeted at “organized” religion or better known as the Church. It is disturbing when people who claim to follow Christ appear to despise the very Church which Christ loved so much that He died for her as we are reminded by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. Moreover, it is also disturbing when “believers” who claim to be followers of Christ say they hate religion when God in our text today gives us a definition describing His idea of true and undefiled religion indicating that He is very much ok with true religion.

Often when people say they hate church or religion they have in mind the “legalism” that they feel the church tries to force upon them. This is a backhanded way of them saying I don’t want anyone telling me how I should live my life. It is ironic that God in defining religion tells us exactly how we should live our lives in light of true religious practice. We should “bridle” our tongue, visit those who are unable to care for themselves, and keep ourselves “unstained from the world.” If one is a true follower of Christ he willingly brings himself under subjection to the standard God has set forth in His word because the believer loves the things God loves and hates the things God hates. So, let us remember that we have been called to live in such a way that reflects true, pure, undefiled religion.

Grace to all,

Ronnie

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Journey Through James – Day 4

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1.22)

James reminds us very clearly, in our text today, that true faith impacts our life in such away as to spur us to action. It is a good discipline to study and internalize the scripture. Frankly we need more believers to be diligent in the study of God’s word. However, if our study ends with merely a head full of biblical knowledge and does not spur us to actions of obedience to the precepts therein we are deceiving ourselves as James writes.

Jesus reminded us that those who love Him demonstrate that love by being obedient to His commandments. The true follower of Christ will be driven to obedience to the precepts of God’s word because of his love for Christ. The true follower will hear the word, internalize the word, and flesh out the word daily. The true follower will be so impacted by the sanctifying nature of the word of God that he will be changed in his way of thinking which will in turn change his way of acting. So, let us be reminded today to be doers of the word and not just hearers only.

Grace to all,

Ronnie

Journey Through James – Day 3

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19)

It has been said that we have two ears and one mouth and so we should listen twice as much as we speak. While this may not be the exact sentiment of this text, it does have some merit. James is reminding us that we should weigh every word before we manipulate the tongue to produce them because what we say is irreversible. For many of us our tendency is to be self absorbed so much so that we rarely really listen others without interruption. We generally care more about what we have to say than what anyone else has to say.

James is reminding us that if we would take the time to intentionally put aside our own agenda long enough to genuinely listen to our fellow human being and take the time to really process what they are saying that we could alleviate a multitude of misunderstanding and dispute. If we would care enough about others to truly hear their heart we could know how to accurately respond in ways that are genuine and meaningful. This is fundamental to developing authentic relationships. This is fundamental to truly understanding others. It starts with us intentionally humbling ourselves to the point that we truly and intentionally listen before we ever decide to formulate a response. So, be reminded today “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

Grace to all,

Ronnie

Journey Through James – Day 2

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:14)

Temptation is every humans problem. Temptation is inevitable. All too often, however,  we want to point the blame of our failures in overcoming these temptations at something outside of ourselves. Moreover, we all too often want to blame temptation on something outside of ourselves as well. James reminds us very clearly that the possibility of temptation is a result of our own natural desire toward sin. While Satan may use strategies in to rouse up those desires, temptation is in extricable tied to our own tendency toward sinfulness.

We must come to the place that we understand that the devil doesn’t make me do anything. I am drawn away by my natural desire and fall into sin because of the weakness of the flesh. Moreover, God never tempts anyone to do evil. It is through the mercy and grace of God that I even have the ability to withstand the evil temptations that bombard me daily. It is through His sanctifying work in my life that my nature has been transformed. It is because of the indwelling Holy Spirit that I now have the ability to withstand all of the fiery darts of the devil. It is because of the work of Christ that my desires and passions have been placed under subjection to the righteousness of God and I am no longer a slave to sin, but a slave to righteousness. So the remedy for withstanding the temptation that leads to sin is to draw ever closer to God and to know Him better day by day. The remedy is to die to self and live for Christ; to subject all of my members under the authority of Christ and to mortify the flesh. It is to realize that it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me.

Grace to all,

Ronnie

Journey Through James – Day 1

(Jas 1:2) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds”

Note that these trials are not the temptations to sin as some may be inclined to believe. These trials are hardships that test our faith. It seems almost counter intuitive to think that one would be joyful in the midst of difficulty, however, it is through the difficulties of life that muscle of faith is worked and strengthened and attains that long term endurance that James calls steadfastness.

Moreover, it is the consistency of steadfastness in our trials that builds our faith to the point that it is perfected in Christ and we find our faith to be full and lacking in nothing. Thus we can face the difficulties of life without wavering or questioning the integrity of God. Once our faith is seasoned in such a way the circumstances of life will not determine our faithfulness to God or our faith in Him. This does not necessarily make the difficulties easy it simply means that we are resolved to trust the God of our salvation even in the difficulties. We come to the place that we understand that He is for us and not against us. We come to see that He is with us and has not forsaken us even when the way looks difficult. So, let us “Count it all Joy” when our faith is strengthened through difficulties because we know that it will strengthen us in our relationship with the Father in order that we may be a help to others who will face similar trials.

Grace to all,

Ronnie

 

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