I am currently doing a study on the book of James, not the apostle, Jesus' younger half brother. It is a Beth Moore study whom I absolutely adore and cannot begin to describe how much I learn from her. In the last two months I have probably learned more about the Bible than maybe my entire life. I am not sure what the motivation is, but I am loving this time of learning in my life.
Well, I was enjoying it.
The book of James is tough to swallow! You can turn to it right between Hebrews and 1 Peter, don't miss it though.You can easily skip over this five chapter book. It is chalk full of hard lessons if you are really looking. Of course, just skimming it, it seems pretty common sense and an easy book to read in about 15 minutes (or less) and then not think about it for the rest of the day. Which I have tried doing, trust me! There are several lessons to take from James. In the first chapter James tells us:
Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
There are many more lessons throughout the book of James, believe it or not there are more in the first chapter. Which brings me to the reason I am writing. Towards the end of chapter one of James under the heading Listening and Doing it reads:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
This verse almost brought me to my knees while in bible study today. How often do I "look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom?" Intently, never. How often do I leave the sermon on Sunday morning and not think of the message again? Too many times to count. How often do I do what I have heard? Do I have to answer this?!
I am " the man who looks in the mirror and, after looking at himself,
goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."
I hardly want to open the book of James again. It is so painful to see the truth of what I am.
Praise God for his precious son, our Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first chapter of James ends with this sentence: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
I am only in the third week of the study of James, and this last week of study was tough for me. There were several times I just didn't understand what Beth or the Bible were trying to say. That scares me. To me that means I don't have the knowledge or wisdom to comprehend something new. On one hand that is okay, I know we are all a work in progress. On the other, it just tells me how much more growing (seeing more of that man in the mirror than I want to)I have to do.
My prayer is that I will not be polluted by the world. That I may be set apart for you Lord. I ask that I may grow in wisdom to the one who gives generously to all without finding fault. Help me to find ways that I can look after orphans and widows in their distress. Thank you for opening me eyes to the man in the mirror, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. I want to look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom. In your sons precious name, Amen.
"...humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."