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Category Archives: James

James 3:13-18

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:13-18

Dear God, I’ve never thought of this passage in this way before, but this is another way of looking at the fruits of the Spirit in myself or someone else.

  • Honorable living
  • Good works
  • Humility
  • Peace loving
  • Gentle
  • Willing to yield
  • Mercy
  • Good deeds
  • No favoritism
  • Sincere
  • Peacemaking
  • Righteous

The opposite of God’s wisdom:

  • Bitter jealousy
  • Selfish ambition
  • Boasting
  • Lying
  • Selfishness
  • Disorder
  • Evil works

So I guess my question is, what do I do with the second type of person? How do I respond to them in my family, in my community, in my work, and even as my political/governmental leader?

Ironically, I think it goes back to the first list James gave me. If I’m in you and I’m doing those things then my life will influence the sphere you want me to influence. I will carry you into my world and be your ambassador. But if I try to manufacture those actions myself without relationship with you then I will find that second list creeping into and through my life.

Father, I’m sorry for any times yesterday I exhibited bitterness, jealousy, pride, lying, ambition, disorder, or evil in any way. I’m sure I touched on all of them in one way or another. Live through me so that my life will be whole and you can then use me however you will.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2019 in James

 

James 5:16
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Dear God, it can be very difficult to confess my sins to someone else. What if they think less of me? How can I face that shame?

I have a guy that I talk to nearly every week. He has struggles, and I have them too. I think he is better about telling me about his failures than I am mine. In fact, I know he is. Why is that? What am I afraid of? I know this friend will still love me. I know he won’t think less of me. I think it just comes down to shame.

I heard someone say at a retreat a few months ago that guilt seeks forgiveness, but shame hides. I can feel myself hiding part of my life even though I know that Satan’s power is in the secret. I know that it gives him a foothold in my life. I am a fool.

Father, help me to embrace repentance and vulnerability. Help me to be your child. Help me to love you and turn loose of myself just a little more.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2019 in James

 

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James 1:19

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

James 1:19

Dear God, James is correct that listening is the key, and oh, how I can be a bad listener. I love to talk. It’s probably a function of my insecurity. I want people to hear what I have to say, but I have got to be better about listening. Even when showing someone the nonprofit where I work, while giving a tour I know I should be asking them questions about themselves and trying to gauge how much interest they have in our work versus the work of another nonprofit, but I just sit there and yammer on about what we do. Yes, I am a bad listener.

But I think the key to what James is saying here is that being slow to anger and loving others is a function of good listening and compassion. When I think about it, my anger is usually driven by the decisions other people make. It’s hard to think of a time that I was angry and it was NOT related to something someone did. But if I can sit there and really listen to someone else, even people I don’t know like politicians, and understand why they are making the decisions they are making, it will be more likely to engage my empathy and then that will drive my sympathy for their point of view. Very few people are bad, evil people. Almost always, they are being driven by forces that are unseen by me, but in their mind the forces make their decision obviously right instead of obviously wrong, as I see it.

Father, this is a lesson of which I need to be reminded over and over again. Help me to remember to seek you and pray through difficult situations with others in real time. Help me to listen to them and to process the text and the subtext of what they are saying. Help me to be strong in empathy and slow to anger. Help me to draw on the grace that you give me as I try to extend grace and love to others.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2018 in James

 

James 3:14-16

But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

James 3:14-16

Dear God, so the way I read this is that James is saying, if you’re a jealous, insecure person then the best things to do is realize it in yourself, own it, and admit it to the world. Then at least people will know that you know who you are and have at least that amount of respect for you.

So what are the negative things I need to own? One that always comes to mind quickly is insecurity and a need to be impressive to others. I really care about how others see me. One of the biggest problems that causes me is in the area of not being confrontational enough when it’s required. It’s a problem.

It also makes me a needy person. I took a personality test one time that basically said that I was confident but I need a lot of compliments. I paraphrased it to say that I’m arrogant, but it needs fed. For a long time, probably the first eight-ish years of my marriage, my neediness was very draining on my wife until I started to be able to see what she meant and realized how a lack of relationship with you contributed to it. But the closer I get to you the less needy I am.

Father, even as I try to leave behind my weaknesses I’m reminded now that I can’t just consciously let them go. I have to leave them through drawing closer to you. So help me to do that. Let the fruit of the Spirit crowd out the thorns and thistles of my flesh so that I might be the man you are calling me to be.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2018 in James

 

James 5:16

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

James 5:16

Dear God, community is so important. I confess that going to church is not one of my favorite things. In fact, I don’t enjoy it much at all. But I need it. I need it for the teaching. I need it for the worship. I need it for the scripture. I need it for the service opportunities. And I need it for the community. I need to be sitting with others, develop relationships, and allow you to use some of those relationships to sharpen me. I also need to be there and intentionally available to that person who walks in and needs you.

Too many of us (including me) miss some of these aspects. We might show up, but we don’t allow the teaching or worship to penetrate our hearts. We don’t contemplate the scripture. We don’t look for ways to love others. We don’t seek out legitimate community. In essence, we don’t use church as a way to love you with all we have and live our neighbor as ourself. And we don’t let down our own walls enough to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other.

Father, as this is. Sunday morning, help me to use church for the community that it is meant to be. Give me the teaching I need. Help me to take a worshipful heart in and make it willing to be vulnerable and to reach out to others. Ultimately, be glorified through me so that I might grow closer to you and being the man you want me to be, and so that others might be drawn closer to you too.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2018 in James

 

James 4:4-10

You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

James 4:4-10

Dear God, I wonder why James follows all of this humility talk with honor. It seems counter productive to make honor my motivation for being humble. That probably shouldn’t be the prize that I see at the end of my pursuits.

I will say, however, that some of the most humble people I know are the most honored. When I start to think of the people I know, from family members, to people in the community, to celebrities, the most admired are the most humble. I can’t think of one off of the top of my head who is arrogant. At least the ones I admire. But I suppose there are people who really like those who are arrogant. But I would say they are likely people who aren’t after your heart.

So, Father, please give me eyes for humility. I confess that I love to be honored. I love admiration. But that’s just my own sickness. I don’t want to pursue honor through acting humble. I simply recognize that I am a flawed person who needs a savior. I recognize the truth. Help me to live that truth authentically.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2018 in James

 

James 1:5-8

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

James 1:5-8

Dear God, there is something about James that has always seemed harsh to me, but maybe I need more harshness in my scripture. In this case, yes, I seek your counsel, but then, of course, I sometimes seek input from others. I feel like the discernment process is where your wisdom comes in.

I have a day full of meetings today. It starts at 7am and goes through to about 6:30pm. Sometimes, I am going to be making some hard decisions. Sometimes I’m going to be discerning between the counsel of others. Sometimes I’ll be leading the room and sometimes I’ll be following the leadership of someone else. This will be a good day to apply this verse and remember to literally pray more today and seek your wisdom.

Father, I just need to be more mindful of your today. Help me to be more in tune with what you are calling me to do. Fill me with your presence and peace and lead everyone today so that your glory will radiate through the work we do and our to our entire community.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2018 in James