James: Handling the Hard Stuff of Life
Who do we look up to and why? Why is their opinion so important to us? Are our actions motivated by a deeply rooted desire to be accepted, impressive to others who are “above” us, and to those in our family we look up to for approval?
Unfortunately this desire is very human but not heavenly centered. It is instead motivated by self driven selfishness. All of us fight this battle daily. Most times we do it without thinking. We want to do a great at work, home and church but for the praise of Whom? It’s important that we meditate on this and prepare for each day, knowing the enemy will put this on our plate. We need to scrap it off and instead drink only the blood of Christ that was spilled and eat the bread that represents his broken body for us. Do all to please Christ alone. All thoughts and actions should lead back to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Only then will kind mercy prevail…
James 2, The Message
1-4 My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?
5-7 Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn’t it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren’t they the ones who scorn the new name—“Christian”—used in your baptisms?
8-11 You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: “Love others as you love yourself.” But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. You can’t pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God’s law and ignoring others. The same God who said, “Don’t commit adultery,” also said, “Don’t murder.” If you don’t commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you’re a murderer, period.
12-13 Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.
Dear Heavenly Father, Ouch, Your Word sends us back to our knees in repentance for selfish thinking and behaving. May our eyes be on You, focused on Your will and purpose, leaving the rest behind. Thank you for Your Presence in our lives to guide us on this journey. We pray for lost people. We pray for those who mourn this day. We pray that we will be less selfish today than yesterday. In Jesus Name, Amen