Saturday, February 1, 2014

Committed to Action

Scriptural Reading: James 1:19-27
Devotional Reading: 1 John 3:14-20

I have been in circumstances with people who have either chosen to live in the world or disagree with me in the kingdom of God. That does not cause me to hate. I am committed to the action that all believers were called upon to do by Christ in Matt 28:19-20. He gave us the Great Commission and told us to go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing in the Name of the Trinity and teaching. To do this we must love. The beloved apostle John stated at 1John 3:16-20: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on the, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence. If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” (NKJV) James, the half-brother of Christ, tends to agree with the apostle.

This quarter of study is entitled “Jesus and the Reign of God”. We are in Unit III – “Live Justly in the Reign of God” of the three units of the quarter. This is the first lesson of a four-lesson study. Believers are challenged to hear and do the Word as recorded in the book of James.

In verse 18 James states the believers were chosen through the Word of truth to be His firstfruits of all His creations. What an honor has been given us in rank and dignity for all of eternity. Therefore we have certain ways we must act in order to honor the kingdom of God. James further states in verses 19-21, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”(NKJV) How many times have you been in a meeting where there are problems with being able to listen while others are speaking? When, and if, tempers flare it is not an example of the righteousness that God desires. Evil communications will not save you. All passions must be restrained in order to be in right-standing with God. He does not need our wrath, but He prefers our meekness, humility, and obedience. Solomon said at Eccl 9:17, “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” (NKJV) It is our duty to hear God’s Word, apply our minds to the understanding of it, and not hear what we want, applying what we want. We must speak the Word of God and not the opinions of men after we have listened to what has been stated through the mind of God. We must be slow to anger because we can’t show the LORD’s love in anger. There will be disputes among Christians. But a soft answer will turn away wrath.

James continued his challenge to the believers to do something with what they had heard. It is just a start when they are quick to listen to God’s Word and apply their minds to understanding it. There must be action as he described in verses 22-24, “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 someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” (NKJV) We have to walk and talk the Christian life or else we are deceiving ourselves to say that we are believers. God knows our hearts and unbelievers and believers are observing us. You can listen to sermon after sermon, but if you do not practice what you hear then the seed is falling by the wayside. You must be able to meditate and practice the Word or you are practicing deception. He begins to contrast those who use the Word of God properly and those who do not. Anyone who hears the Word but does not change his behavior, James uses a proverb which introduces someone looking at their natural face in a mirror and forgetting what he saw. The idea is that mirrors show up spots, blemishes, shaving needs, etc. All this needs to be cleaned up, but persons forget what they saw when they put the mirror down. They only saw the outward spots and defilements that needed to be cleaned off and then they removed themselves from the situation.

<< What about those who use the Word of God properly? James continued to explain at verses 25-27, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 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.”(NKJV) Here you will note a blessing has been pronounced on the believer who 1.) searches the Word of God, 2.) continues daily in the Word of God, 3.) does not forget what they have heard about the Word of God, and 4.) does the Word of God. The Word of God (Bible) shows us our sins that we may repent, be pardoned, and granted a life of eternity by accepting Jesus Christ. There are those who do not receive the blessing because they skip some of the steps above and they deceive themselves. The Word of God is not meant to flatter people as a mirror is meant to do. It is meant to save your soul from destruction. For example, there are those who are not able to bridle their tongue. Their religion is not acceptable unto God. It is what they want to do and is one of vanity because they refuse to humble themselves by watching their speech. Less said, best said. A religion which is pure should be kept undefiled. It must be useful to His kingdom. James gave as an example that God would accept as pure and faultless the visiting of needy orphans and widows and remaining without a spot in the world. I would imagine he would also include visiting the sick and shut-in ministry to that list.

Are you committed to act for the kingdom of God? How do you react to negativity and immorality in today’s society? Do you study the Word of God daily? Is it engrafted in your heart? Are you a doer of the Word? What does godly love mean to you?

Praises to the Almighty and God bless you.

Written by Deborah C. Davis

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