This morning I spent about a half hour reading through the book of James. What amazing truth and incredible wisdom. It was such a refreshing and challenging time that I thought I would share a few nuggets that really brought some renewed focus to my faith.
- Compassionate Service – What a Christian does really matters – A good bit of James has to do with our actions. How we treat other people, the way in which we listen and speak to other people, the way in which we serve other people. The idea of compassionate service can only happen with a transformed heart. On our own we tend to do the selfish thing, but when we are plugged into God and filled with His Spirit, we can love people unconditionally. James reminds us that we are called to serve others. The measuring stick of our commitment is not our lip service, but our life. Here are a few principles James teaches us:
- Selfish motives prevent a servant’s ministry
- Following rules cannot save us, but following Jesus can
- A lifestyle that costs nothing is worth nothing
- A faith that is only in my head is dead
- A worthless past is resolved by a present that works
- Careful Speech – What a Christian says matters. The way in which we speak and the words we use reflect what is inside of us. The words we use have great power. James calls it the tongue, and it can dispense both blessing and cursing. Here are some things James shares with us on this idea of taming the tongue:
- The tongue is a spiritual meter. If we can bridle it, we can bridle the whole body. It becomes the gauge for our maturity. Our faith will never register higher than our words.
- The tongue is like a horse’s bit, a ship’s rudder, or kindling wood. It starts things in motion. If we control it, we can guide our lives, just as a bit directs a horse and a rudder steers a ship.
- The tongue is powerful. Like a huge fire, it can ruin or bless our entire lives. This power was meant to send us down the rigfht path, not to kill us.
- The tongue can reveal what sort of wisdom we harbor inside. A good tongue protects our integrity. James asks: Is yours a good guard or a bad one? Does it create peace or reveal hypocrisy
- Consistent Growth – How a Christian changes matters. James calls us to be patient, just like a farmer who patiently waits for his harvest. The farmer knows that if he picks the corn too early, he will miss out on some of the grain. It’s the same way with us. Spiritual growth is a process, not an event. We grow daily, not in one day. We are either growing or declining. Our goal as followers of Christ should be to grow in our faith, in our character development and in our influence with others. Here are some thoughts about growth:
- Growth takes work and effort
- Growth means you have to stretch out of your comfort zone
- Growth means learning something new or developing a deeper understanding.
- Growth takes focus, you can’t drift or get distracted.
- Growth takes accountability, it accelerates when someone is watching.
- Growth means learning from the past.
- Growth takes action, practicing what you now know.
- Growths means gratitude for past blessings from God.
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