Power and Truth
Greetings beloved readers! Truly, is this a powerful passage. James, a brother of Jesus, is the man who wrote this letter. As a writer on any passage, my heart’s desire is to always bring you back to the power and truth of God’s Word. Hence, I must plead with you, beloved reader, to go read the passage James 4:1-12. It is such a truth revealing and heart awakening passage! And as you read you will notice how self-convicting James is. This is seen in all of his rhetorical questions.
Why Do You Criticise?
Focusing the gaze back upon one’s own selfishness one is reminded again here of our shortcomings. James wants to improve our relationships with each other, but more than that he wants to improve our relationship with God. James is taking any recipient of this letter on a reflective journey. If there are problems on the outside, first look inside and attempt to see where one’s own heart lies. James is directing the recipients back toward God as he focuses on what God sees – the heart – and not what man sees. Matthew 7:3 writes about taking the plank out of one’s own eye before trying to take the speck of dust out of another’s eye. Pastor Steven Furtick elaborated on the concept found in Matthew 7:3, highlighting two fascinating points. First, in order to see the speck of dust in another’s eye both would need to be fairly close to one another. Second, the speck of dust is most probably made from the same material as the plank. What he means is that there is a reason one is able to see this speck in another: it is simply due to the fact that it is in them too.
The Cravings Inside You
Psalm 27:19 (NLT) says: “As water reflects the face so one life reflects their soul“. It is easy for the world to see what type of lifestyle, family, job, success rate, etc. one has by simply viewing the outward appearance. Sadly, it is on these that man judges one another. A child gets judged by the type of food they bring to school. A teen gets judged by the type of shoes they wear. Adults get judged by the cars they drive. Elderly people are judged by the amount of family surrounding them. Seems super stereotypical, yet these happen at the most basic level.
When in these situations it is easy to fall into the thought “if only I had…” and neglect what one does have. It is definitely not bad to want things! Did you know that? Some Christians will preach simplistic living where if you are rich you are not truly living the Christ-like life (sadly, we judge each other too). The Heavenly Father loves to bless His children and because He sees the heart He knows when to give and when to wait. It becomes bad to want something when one wants that thing too much, making it lust and idolatry in the heart: idealising that thing and focusing on it more than focusing on God.
Submitting to God
Want what God wants. He wants to have His kingdom know and disciples made. There is a difference between missions and mission. Missions involves us doing God’s mission. God’s mission is the showing of His heart, His sending and that is sending of love. Hence God wants to love all people of all nations, tongue and tribe. James gives the reminder to not compare lives and think one is righteously deserving what they have or ought to have. Only the Lord is able to truly see such things.
Finally leading to the final point, become humble. The Lord loves the humble as James writes. Being humble is not as simple as it seems because as soon as one thinks they have achieved it, they fall into arrogance. True humility stems – from down in the heart – from the belief that all people are better than I. Yes, even the criminal behind bars. Yes, even the president. Yes, even your sibling.
So go, with eyes wide open into your situations from now on. Not just in seeing your own heart behind the matter but also so see God’s heart, as He sends you in love.
Live It Out
One. I have to plead with you, again, go read this passage more than once! I have only been able to glance at an idea that James brings forth in the last few verses. And so the first step you should take is always to go back to the Word, asking the Holy Spirit to teach as you read.
Two. When You discover there is something you want, do not make it an everyday thought as you do have the power to choose what you think about. Also do not dismiss it, thinking you cannot have it because maybe the Lord wants to bless your life by giving that to you. Simply allow yourself to view it as it is. Either as something nice to have or something that will make life easier. But always take it back down to, how can it serve others? Remember: God sends love. Others are always greater than I am. It is not my place to criticize.
Three. Be willing to be wrong. We live in a very “righteous” world that is highly self-centred. Acknowledging that you are not able to always do right allows for many things. First, it grants people unconditional acceptance, and they realise they can be open about being wrong too – now there is redemption and repentance. Second, it humbles yourself. Finally, it opens your eyes to your heart to see where it may be leading you astray.
I pray you go read, do and bless others throughout this upcoming week as our Lord and Saviour sends you out in love! Amen.