Hypocrites beware. James gets in our face with the Truth. O, how I love this book of the Bible. And O, how I want to avoid it all together.
James wrote this letter to expose hypocritical practices and teach the Christian way of living. He teaches believers to live a genuine faith with action and not just say they are a believer.
The evidence of genuine faith is a transformed life.
I received a call recently from Amanda with Compassion International. Compassion International is a child-advocacy ministry that pairs compassionate people with those who are suffering from poverty. The ministry releases children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty. The goal is for each child to become a responsible and fulfilled adult.
John and I have sponsored a child for several years. I love my sweet girl. We write letters and pray for each other. I send her pictures of my Cocker Spaniel. She has a dog too. Receiving a letter from Noemi is the highlight of that day, week, month for me.
Amanda shared with me a little about the ministry and her experiences traveling to the Compassion Centers in other countries. I mentioned I recently received the email about another Sponsor trip scheduled to Bolivia, where my girl lives. I told Amanda I would love to go to meet my girl. I have fears of going though. Plus the expense. Amanda offered to pray for me about this huge adventure.
After we ended the call I went back to my study of James about genuine faith, action faith and loving others.
Can I be honest? My faith is being challenged concerning this trip opportunity. And James isn’t helping! 🙂 I don’t want to miss God by not going if that is His will. Nor do I want fear of traveling to a foreign country to prevent me from a blessing. I would be with others from Compassion. “What if’s” run through my head. I know God will guide me in this. Maybe He would rather I give the money it would cost to go to help many children than to go visit one child. I don’t know yet. If not this year, maybe another year. Amanda is praying for me along with others. My desire is to be obedient and I know sometimes that means stepping out of my comfort zone.
As I have studied James, I realize more that faith is genuine when doing what the Bible says to do.
It’s more than a statement of “I believe”. Even the devil believes.
As much as I love words, I hate to say this; spoken words can be empty and meaningless. Think about it. It’s easy to say the right thing but not mean it. It’s easy to say I believe in God but not live as if I do.
James is a challenging book of the Bible. He says things I don’t like to hear. I don’t want to “consider my troubles as an opportunity for great joy.” James 1: 2. I’d rather complain about my troubles. It’s hard to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger” James 1: 19 I talk too much sometimes and don’t listen enough. James teaches about taming our tongue. This means thinking before I say anything and controlling my desire to say what I shouldn’t.
Yes, James is convicting. But if I want to truly follow the Lord, I must work on these areas and many more. We will fail. God looks at our heart, our motive. Pray continually about the areas we struggle in. Ask forgiveness when we mess up. God knows our heart.
Dear Heavenly Father, James is a challenging book to read and study. I pray you will help us to live out our faith as you have taught in your Word. When you are truly our Lord and Savior it is reflected in our words, actions, love of others. I want this to be true in my life and I know others do also. Help us, forgive us and thank you for loving us. In Jesus Name, Amen.