James 1:19-21 ESV
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
These are good words for these troubled times in which we are now living.
Although I am not personally witnessing flared tempers raging, I assume that some people are getting angry over loss of freedoms, loss of supplies on store shelves, loss of employment and incomes, and fears of the future and what it holds for all of us. And, the worse things get, the more tempers will flare, I would imagine.
So, this is good counsel for us to put our emotions in check, and to not react emotionally to what is going on all around us, but to stop, look and listen to God and what he is wanting to say to us all through this time of difficulty.
For, none of this is coming as a surprise to God. And, he has allowed it all to happen this way for a purpose. So, rather than reacting emotionally to what appears to be our present situation, we truly do need to just sit and listen to the Lord and to hear what he wants to teach us right now through it all. For, I believe that what is happening truly is for the salvation of souls.
James 1:22-25 ESV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
I believe God is allowing all of this trouble in the world right now, in fact, to get us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. For, sometimes when things are going well, from a human standpoint, it can be easy to get caught up in our own lives and in our own comforts, and we can get lazy about our relationships with the Lord.
So, the Lord brings things into our lives to test and to try us in order to get us to look to him and not to ourselves, and in order to get us to walk in obedience to his commands and to not just go about life doing whatever we want to do.
So, we need to take this time he has given to us to examine our own lives and how we have been living them, and to examine the Word of God and what it has to say regarding how we should be living our lives.
And, then if it turns out that we have not been doers of the Word, but we have been hearers only, then we should turn away from hearing only to becoming doers of the Word, in the strength and wisdom of God.
For, the Christian life is not just some status or station in life which is stagnant. For, love for God is to keep his commandments. And, those for whom the righteous requirement of the law will be fully met in them are those who are walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Eph. 4:17-24).
For, you see, doing the Word of God is not optional. For, faith is not just a feeling or an experience. Faith is putting into practice what we say we believe. For, it means to be divinely persuaded, and if divinely persuaded, then we submit to God, and we surrender our lives to him, and we leave our sinful practices behind us to follow him in obedience (Rom. 6:1-23).
But, we don’t “do” the Word of God to earn or to deserve our salvation. We “do” the Word of God as part of our salvation, for we are saved to good works which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them.
Faith is not just hearing, but it is doing, in obedience to our Lord. And, it is in the doing of the Word of God where we will be blessed.
James 1:26-27 ESV
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Our faith in Jesus Christ is not just a religion. It is not just a set of religious practices. And, it isn’t just an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we leave this earth, either.
When we truly believe in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, his Holy Spirit comes to live within us and to live his life out through us for the glory and praise of God.
We are now the temple of God. So, our lives should reflect that. Our lives should be for the praise of God’s glory. They should be in line with God’s word, and they should be lived in service to our Lord. We should no longer be living for ourselves just to please ourselves.
Since we are now the body of Christ, we should be living his life in the world around us. We should be reflecting his love and mercy. And, we should be sharing with people what he taught us, too. And, we should be walking the walk and not just talking the walk.
In other words, our faith is revealed by what we do, not just by what we say. So, we need to be loving others with God’s love, and we need to be ministering to the needs (real needs) of others and not just be serving ourselves.
Now, we can’t minister to everyone in the world, so we need the leading of the Holy Spirit in this in what needs he would have us to meet. And, then we have to follow his lead.
But, this isn’t just about being “good deed doers.” Even non-Christians can be “good deed doers.” This has to be about sharing Jesus with others, too, and it has to be about speaking the truth in love to people so that they, too, can come to faith in Jesus Christ.
But, we can’t just do good deeds to others while we hold on to sinful practices, either. For, the Christian life isn’t just about what we do, it is also about what we don’t do.
So, if we want to have faith in Jesus Christ that is pure and undefiled, then we also need to put away all wickedness, and we need to reject worldly living, and we need to walk in the ways of the Lord.
We need to reflect Jesus Christ in all that we do, in other words, and in our thinking, in our attitudes and in our speech, too.
Every day we need to be putting off the deeds of the flesh and we need to be putting on Christ and his righteousness, and we need to be walking in the light of the truth of God’s Holy Word. And, therein we will find true peace and true joy, too.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
copyright status is public domain
*Caution: This link may contain ads