My Bible reading today was in an area that I always struggle with, and that is what I am saying and also what am I doing.
James 1:19-27 (NLT)
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
It always sounds so easy to do. Listen, think carefully before you speak and don’t get angry easily. The Word says listen and be slow to speak. It doesn’t say, don’t talk at all, we don’t share God’s word if we never say anything. I don’t think this is an easy thing for those who don’t talk (much) or for those who are “talkers”. I am a talker, I have to really work at listening and thinking carefully before I say anything. My husband doesn’t talk much, he will think things over so much that he won’t say anything when he needs to speak up. We both have to work on balancing this out.
Anger. Uncontrolled and unwise anger can be our worst enemy. The Word doesn’t say don’t get angry at all because we need to have Godly anger. Jesus had this when He was dealing with ungodly people but, He (Jesus) did not allow anger to get Him into sin. When we see sin in operation we need to have enough anger to fight against it. We just have to remember that we are fighting the spirit behind the sin, not the person involved in it. This can be very tricky. You have to depend on prayer and trusting the Lord’s guidance (listen) to know what to do.
Looking at yourself here is examining your actions and motives to see if they are in line with how the Word says we are to act. Listening to the Word and not acting on what we have heard is like looking in the mirror and then not fixing something you see about yourself that needs changed. Like seeing that your face is dirty but not washing it, just ignoring the problem. The Word will “clean us up” if we actually apply it to our lives.
Isn’t it interesting that this passage ends with pointing out that to truly be following God we will take care of those who can’t take care of themselves and not letting the things of this world corrupt us. (Websters says corrupt means “To waste, spoil or consume”).
Today you and I need to listen to the Word: “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry, get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, care for orphans and widows in their distress (those who need our help) and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
It is going to be a busy day! Praise the Lord!