Archive for January 2011

The Sin of Inaction

January 28, 2011

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.-James 4:17

I have always wondered what it would be like to stick a key into a light socket. Don’t worry I’m not going to try it, I just wonder what would happen.

That was always one of the things we were told not to do as kids, and to the best of my knowledge, none of us ever did it. At least it never happened when I was around.

God’s commandments which prohibit certain behaviors and actions are a lot like the rule that kept us from probing electricity with a key – they are there to protect us. But, a lot of people look at the Ten Commandments” and think as long as I do/don’t do those, I’m good.

But, here in the book of James we find a powerful statement that makes our 10 “Do’s and Don’ts” approach to our relationship with God insufficient.

You see, God doesn’t want us walking around just avoiding things to stay on His good side. He calls and compels us to be actively, passionately living out a life which demonstrates to others our love for Him and His love for them.

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“Check Engine”

January 20, 2011

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”  -James 3:17

Our car has a problem. The “Check Engine” light is on. I don’t know what the problem is, but there is one. Based on my past experience with that particular light, it can be something minor – or it can mean there is a big (read expensive) problem.

The issue is, we won’t know what the problem, or needed remedy is, until the diagnostic test is run.

Our lives are often like that. We have a problem, but we just don’t know what it is. God’s Spirit is the “Check Engine” light for our soul. We know we have a problem. Reading and knowing His Word is the diagnostic process which brings understanding of what needs to be fixed.

Wisdom comes from the application of that knowledge. If I continue to run my car with that light on, what might have been a simple fix can become a major problem. We ignore God’s direction for our lives at our own peril.

When our life is running according to God’s plan, the result is the life described in the verse above.

Be a “Do-er”!

January 19, 2011

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  -James 1:22

Have you ever looked at your watch and had someone then ask what time it is, only to then have to look back at your watch because you can’t remember the time? (Even though hardly two seconds had passed since you looked at the watch?

It is amazing how we quickly we can let things slip from our memory, isn’t it? In the context of the verse above, we are reminded we often do this with God’s Word. We hear it, or read it and then five seconds later we can’t remember it.

But, James says it goes even further than remembering, we must do what it says. If our finite minds would allow us to memorize the whole Bible, that would be amazing. But, this passage tells us that if we don’t do what it says, it is all for nothing.

We are called throughout scripture to a practical faith. From the Old Testament prophet, “Obedience is better than sacrifice,” to Christ, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Look for ways to live out your faith today!

Faith Work

January 8, 2011

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”  -James 1:2-3

There are a lot of folks hitting the gym for the first time in years, or maybe just for the first time ever this week. Those lovely New Year’s resolutions will drive them there for a while anyway.

Next week attendance will drop off some, then more the week after, then in a few weeks most will not be going back at all.

Why is that? Well, working out is well work – and, at times, hard work. It takes time and effort to make the progress toward being fit. Those who stay with it will see that benefit.

The verse above tells us that is true about our faith. It takes the effort of trials and struggles to grow in our trust of God. You don’t get stronger by looking at the weights, you have to pick them up. You don’t build endurance by buying running shoes, you have to run.

Our faith isn’t built by reading about others’ trials and experiences, we have to undergo the “various trials” ourselves. “Count it all joy” reminds us the results will be well worth what we go through to get there. “Patience” is the evidence to self and others of the presence and growth of faith.