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Jame 3

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29

SCRIPTURE: JAMES 3

As you read through this chapter, it may appear that James is covering three subjects.  While there are most certainly three sections in this chapter, they are all really about the same thing.  Quite simply that is the words that we speak.

In verse one, James cautions us about too many people becoming teachers.  He says that teachers will face a stricter judgment than those who don’t teach.  Obviously the words a teacher speaks carry great weight and importance.  If those words are wrong, great damage could be done to those who listen.  If those words don’t match up with the life of the one speaking them, listeners will have a tendency to ignore the words.  As a result, those who teach will face a greater scrutiny and subsequent response than those who don’t teach.

That doesn’t mean teachers are perfect.  No one is.  No teacher is.  In fact, the verse goes on to say that we all stumble in many ways.  We all mess up in many ways.  But then James makes a most interesting statement.  He says that one who doesn’t stumble in what he says is a perfect man and is able to control his entire body.  Jesus said that it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person but what comes out of his mouth.  The reason our words defile us is they represent what is in the heart.  And what is in the heart effects everything about us.

From there James goes on to give several examples of how devastating and destructive our words can be.  He says that it should not be that words of blessing and of cursing could come out of the same mouth.  Our words are powerful and permanent.  We must be careful what we say.

At this point James switches to one of his favorite subjects: wisdom.  He speaks of a worldly wisdom that is boastful and untruthful.  Those kinds of things lead to even worse things like jealousy and selfish ambition and those things create disorder and all kinds of sinful behavior.

On the other hand, there is a Godly wisdom that is much different.  This kind of wisdom is pure and peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, leads to good deeds, treats everyone equally and has great integrity.  God’s wisdom always impacts our relationships with others in very positive ways.  It does so because God’s wisdom does not just impact our words.  God’s wisdom changes our behavior.  Wisdom is the source of good words and good works.

James ends this chapter by reminding us of the utter value of sowing peace.  When we sow peace, we reap righteousness.  Oddly enough, the effect of righteousness is more peace.  The Bible says, “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” (Isaiah 32:17)

So when we sow peace, we reap righteousness.  The effect of righteousness is a greater peace (quietness) and a firmer assurance (confidence).  That is a much better way to live.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

James 2

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28

SCRIPTURE: JAMES 2

This chapter can actually be divided into two sections.  The first one, verses 1-13, has to do with how Christ followers should treat others.  The second one, verses 14-26, have to do with faith.  Let’s start by tackling that first one.

There is a very important Biblical principle that we need to apply to these first thirteen verses.  The Bible says, “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34).  In other words, God does not treat us differently because we may be different from other people.  As a result, we should not be respecters of persons either.  In other words, the poorer folks who come to church with us should receive the same courtesy and treatment and respect as the richest among us receives.  Showing partiality is a sin.

The second section has to do with faith.  As you read through verses 14-26, I would like to point out three kinds of faith.  One is dead faith.  The other is demonic faith.  And the third is dynamic faith.

Dead faith is the so-called faith that produces no works.  In many ways, it is faith in name only.  It is faith in words only.  There is no outward evidence of the reality of salvation as proven by doing good to others.

In verse 14, James asked if that kind of faith can save you.  That is a very important question.  And the answer is no.  Any declaration of faith that does not result in a changed life and in good works is false.  Works do not save us.  But the saved work.  Ephesians 2:8-10 is clear that we are not saved by works but we are saved for good works which God prepared to be done long before we were saved.

Demonic faith is found in verses 18-19.  Demons actually have faith.  They “believe” in the existence of the one, true God.  And their belief causes them to shudder or to be terrified.  Believing in the existence of the one, true God is important but it is not enough to get you saved.  It should be enough to scare you out of your wits.  But it is not enough to get you saved. 

Salvation comes as a result of the dynamic faith that is written about in verses 20-26.  Dynamic faith is a faith that has a personal relationship with God through Jesus.  And that faith changes our lives.  In verse 21, Abraham was justified (shown to be righteous) when he offered his son, Isaac, on the altar.  His act of potential sacrifice is not what made him righteous.  But it showed the world that he trusted God to the uttermost.  It showed the world that he was righteous.  As verse 23 says, Abraham’s righteousness was imputed to him through believing God.  That, by the way, is the way we are made righteous: we believe God through Jesus.

James covers a lot of ground in this chapter.  In fact, he covers more ground than we can cover on this one sheet.  So, just remember.  Real, dynamic faith changes us.  It affects how we treat others.  It affects how we live and what we do.  And it affects our relationship with God because without faith, real and dynamic faith, it is impossible to please God.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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