The rest of James 1 speaks right to the heart of me and who I am. Sometimes, it is when God’s word is reflecting back at you who you really are…well it can be painful to look at. Sadly, you might not like what is glaring back at you. Sometimes we may say to ourselves, “I don’t look like much of anything of real value, much less a prized possession!”
I treasure this reminder in verses here 17-18
Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.
We need to remember how good our God is. He loves us enough to change us into His image. He puts new clothes on us. He covers us with His feathers. He is the one we call Abba or papa. But He also shows us what old things to take off, to get rid of, to let go of. The things that so easily trip us up, trip me up!
My money (vs. 9-11)
God knows what a stumbling block money is. I understand how, in verses 9 -10, God shows us that He has honored the poor and humbled the rich. That seems so weird to us westerners. Sometimes, I get so caught up that if I have more money, I could give so much more. But then I am reminded that to whom much is given much is required. I have to answer to God in everything, even my finances. God provides exactly what He means to. It is me who must learn to be humbled. I am rich compared to most of the world and a lot of the time I complain that we can’t go out to eat, buy new clothes, or see a movie. God needs to humble me.
My temptation (vs.12-15)
I appreciate it when God makes things very plain for us idiots. God holds nothing back…He reveals here that He is not tempted and He most certainly does not tempt us to do wrong. In the verses to follow, everything good and perfect comes from God, not sin and temptation to sin. It is our own evil nature, my pastor calls it our Adamic nature (man’s propensity to sin), and our desires are what pull us away from Christ. He also gives us a warning sign for us.
When we are being tempted…watch out sin is lurking. When we give into that sin death is breathing down our neck if repentance and turning away doesn’t come quickly.
However, there is love tucked into these verses. God knows us so well. He knows our nature. He knows sin is waiting to steal, kill, and destroy us. But in verse 12, we see His love. If we patiently endure testing and temptation; which alludes that it is absolutely possible to overcome temptation, He WILL bless us and give us eternal life when we endure. We have to do our part and God whole heartedly does His. Remember, God always keeps His promises. We cannot give in, we must not give up, keep fighting patiently endure, and when we have done all to fight, stand! And no worries, God gives us everything we need to fight temptation...He gives us Himself, His power, His Armor!
But God Always Digs Deeper
My actions (vs.19-25)
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
I ardently love these verses…they speak so real to me. How often do I find my self talking so much that I never really listen to those around me? How often am I rattling off words immediately wishing that I could unsay them; because I see the hurt in my children’s eyes? How often do I snap at my husband for no reason? I need to get rid of my old ways and put on God’s ways! I need to wash, rinse, and repeat until I humbly accept what God is doing in me. I must also then live a life that does what His Word says, not become lazy, and not walk away and forget. I must be vigilant and God’s blessings will flow.
And just when you thought…”I don’t struggle with any of this stuff!” BAMM! He squeezes these last two verses in…..
My words (vs.26-27)
God’s Word says it all; I don’t need to add anymore….
If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 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.
(If only the Westboro church would heed this)
James 1 is full of good things for us when we do our part...
Gives you joy, growth,contentment.
Gives you wisdom.
Gives you honor if you are poor and you have to live in shame.
Gives you blessings.
Gives us a crown of life.
Gives us all that is good and perfect straight from heaven.
Gives us His Word planted in our hearts which saves us when we believe.
I am His prize possession! I am going to live like I am!