Previous week was looking at James 1, and trying to stay away from a “diet coke bible” mentality.
James 2 (New International Version)
1-5 How easy it is in today’s society to do just that… there is a tendency to look the other way when someone less fortunate walks our way…our gaze turns down or another way. We define our self-worth based on judging others. We are judging whether we like to think that or not. I remember a sermon awhile ago speaking to this very point. How would we act if a man in shabby clothes, smelling beyond belief, towing two screaming kids came into church today. How would he be treated compared to a man in an fancy suit and Rolex watch. Would our reaction change if we knew that man was Jesus? For that matter, is he Jesus?
This is a hard topic for me…I know that I do this. I do compare myself to others. I think that there is truth in the fact that I use it to value myself. Hopefully I continue to unravel this as I move forward.
6-7 The rich to me are those that claim to be rich, but are actually poor in faith…there is no dollar amount assigned to them. They are rich in self worth… rich in the thought that “I can do this myself…I did this… that is mine…” Those are the rich individuals that I feel James is talking about. Yet these are the ones that we sometimes look up to… aspire to… I really struggle with this one. Ugh…
8-9 I get it… I am not following the law laid down in the Old Testament if I favor one over the other. Again a big challenge and a new mind set.
10 – 11 This applies to so much in our lives. Similar to what we talked about in James 1, sin can build on one another. It is being repeated here… one white lie for instance, one “honest” mistake, one “borrowed” pen from work, etc. are all stumbles… they are all sins… and one is not any less a sin than the other.
12 – 13 I am still unpacking this one… basically I am looking at mercy for others is more important that judging them. That helping one another, rather than judging them, is what God commands. How easy it is for me to act superior… to be one of the rich in God’s eyes. Ugh #2…
Faith and Deeds
14 – 18 This is something that I do think about on a regular basis. The thought I have had recently is the chicken and the egg story. Which comes first? The chicken or the egg? Well in this cause it is the same issue. There are people who can perform wonderful acts of kindness and deeds, but lack faith… but those with faith, if it is truly a faith that is marinated into your soul, then faith cannot survive without deeds. You are compelled to act out your faith.
19 This reminds me of a quote… to “believe” God, don’t just “believe in” God. There really is a difference.
20 – 23 Another struggle… I wish I could say that I had this level of faith, but I don’t. At least not in this way. I understand that my actions must go with my faith, and I hope that they do. But this is all light years past where I am right now in my slowly maturing faith. Baby steps… Ugh #3…
24 – 25 See the comments in 14-18…The chicken and the egg theory again.
In conclusion, the one thing that stands out in my studies this week is that my faith needs to marinate into my soul (I borrowed this from a friend). Something to chew on anyway.