James 1-5: God’s Yardstick – James
Sunday, January 31, 2016
We continue to look for God’s yardstick in the New Testament.
We are never in doubt about James’ dedication to Christ and in a way his letter is a Gospel to Christ’s followers for it outlines a clear roadmap for The Way Christ asks us to walk.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides . . .
Do we see our hardships as sheer gift?
Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.
Do we talk more than we do? Do we lead with our anger?
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
Do we hide from ourselves or do we know who we are?
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!
Do we live on the margins or in the comfortable center?
Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.
Are we impatient and petulant or enduring and resilient?
Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know.
Do we appreciate more than we disparage?
Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
Are we willing to stay the course or do we look for quick fixes?
Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing.
How often and much do we pray? Are we willing to sing?
My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them.
Do we share the Good News or do we hold it to ourselves?
Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.
Are we willing to share Christ’s story? Do we take risks in Christ’s name to include more that we divide and love more than we fear? If so . . . we are following the measure of God’s love that James describes for us.
When we use the scripture link to compare THE MESSAGE version of these verses with translations that may be more familiar to us, we have the opportunity to explore the great measure of God’s love we are given to share.