I managed to have a quiet time with God this morning. In doing so, I read the first two chapters of James. I nearly laughed at loud when I read verses 3 and 4:
“…you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
These verses are, of course, talking about spiritual maturity. I just had to laugh because of what I posted yesterday. This is a reoccurring theme in my life right now. Evidently, I’m pretty far from being spiritually mature, and God is trying to get my attention.
I don’t like it.
But then, who likes correction? The main thing is that regardless of how I feel, I need to just do it. I’ve heard the truth. I know what I should be doing and how I should be acting. But there’s a world of difference between knowing and doing. And James is clear:
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well, keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”
If I believe, but do nothing about it, and don’t seek to change my life to be like Christ, then I am no better than the demons.
Another verse I read this morning was a swift kick in the pants:
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
The way the word “religious” is taken today, no I don’t consider myself religious. But in this biblical context, I do. This verse describes me pretty well. And there are a couple of different interpretations to this verse, and sadly, they all apply to me.
“Does not keep a tight rein on his tongue…” That could be talking about gossip/slander. I’m guilty of that. I actually had to (I wasn’t forced to, I felt the need to do this) apologize to one of the elders at my church because I was complaining about something he did to another church member, when I should have gone directly to him. I’ve often been guilty of gossip. The funny thing is that I often get annoyed at others who gossip. My office at work is across from the copier. And the copier is often used as the “water cooler” where people get together and gossip. It drives me nuts! But then I turn around and gossip too.
It could be referring to being humble rather than spouting off about your “religion” and how devout you are and such. Humble is not a word I would use to describe me. People will often tell me I’m wise and tell me that I’m this incredible Christian woman – and I eat it up. I love it. It validates me. It tells me that I must be somebody worth being because people come to me. That’s pretty prideful – the direct opposite of humility.
Either way, they both end up meaning that my religion is worthless. And that stinks.
Luckily, the Bible also says:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentence. 2 Peter 3:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purigy us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Trackposted to Pirate’s Cove, third world county, Conservative Cat, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.