Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22
This portion of Scripture leaves little room for doubt. Little or no explanation is necessary, as it is self-explanatory. It’s a bit like the old Nike ad… JUST DO IT!
If Jesus asks you To serve water at a wedding, Get the cups.
If He invites you to Meet Him on the lake, Step out.
If Jesus tells you To feed 5,000, Start breaking bread.
When He tells you to Go and preach the gospel, Open your mouth.
When Jesus tells you To let your light shine, Shine it for all.
When He tells you to Pray for your enemies, Drop to your knees.
When Jesus tells you To worship the Father, Lift up your voice.
When He tells you to Give to the poor, Dig deep.
Lucinda Berry Hill, from week 23 of Coffee with Jesus
We can study, listen to sermons and memorize Scripture until the cows come home, but if there aren’t attitudes and actions backing all of that up… it’s just wasted time and effort. Faith without works – is dead, so we see later in the book of James.
James was the half-brother of Jesus. He witnessed the Lord’s resurrected body, then became one of the leaders of the church at Jerusalem. After Peter’s miraculous release from prison, he singled James out (Acts 12:17). James made the deciding speech at the Jerusalem Council (15:13-22), and Paul called James one of the pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9).
Some writers are gentle in their attempt to help the reader along in their Christian walk. We see their human side and find hope because we know if God through Christ Jesus forgave them, He will surely forgive us. The Psalmist David comes to mind and the Apostle Peter comes to mind.
James is a writer who most definitely does not mince words. I’d call him a no-nonsense writer. He’s the one who just tells it like it is – no ands, ifs or buts. No excuses allowed. He’s like the spiritual personal trainer who says – “I know you’re tempted… but so what? resist the devil and keep going in the right way!” He supplies the spiritual kick in the backside that makes us say – “Yep! He’s right about that!” He says if we’re going to talk the talk, we’d better be walking the walk.
I’ve said in the past that the book of James is a tough one for me. It’s just the simple, brash, harsh, undiluted truth. It’s not sugar-coated and there is no room for misinterpretation at all. He says what he means and means what he says. And sometimes… ouch – that smarts.
But really… can you imagine being the half-brother of the Savior? I think that relationship has a lot to do with his bold and direct writing. It’s no holds barred, blunt and to the point. There’s no wiggle room whatsoever. And really where outright sin is concerned, there is no wiggle room. Sin is sin and you can’t giggle and wink your way out of it. It’s not cute… it’s wrong and restoration from God is the only cure. God will forgive any sin, but you have to sincerely ask Him to forgive you.
I wonder if James ever heard, “Why can’t you be more like Jesus?” – ??? I always tell people I’m going to ask questions when I get to Heaven – I want to ask James if he ever heard that – but you know what? By the time I get to Heaven, it’s not really going to be that important. 🙂