Today’s Reading: James 1:19-25
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith and don’t show it by your actions? – James 2:14a
This powerful question speaks loudly throughout James’ letter to the Jews. To say you believe in God but then live out a life absent of God’s presence, it’s heartbreaking. But how often are we caught in that kind of moment? How often do our actions and our words represent the selfishness living inside of us instead of the Savior living out through us?
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. – James 1:19-21
God’s plan is to fill us with His words – to speak into us the word of truth. But first we must rid ourselves of the things that drown out His words or that use up available space that is meant to be filled with His gifts.
I think I need to make room in my life for the good things that God would like to fill me with. It’s time for some end of summer cleaning!
– There are some unnecessary attitudes and anger that I need to throw out instead of holding on to and storing in order to make me feel justified – I need to rid myself of the moral filth so that God can gift me with peace and the ability to forgive.
– There are some habits in my life that I need to rid myself of – habits that give me pleasure or make me feel good when God wants me to go to Him for pleasure, for my self-esteem, for joy.
– There are some things I put into my body to give me energy and keep me going, when God wants to be the giver of the gift of energy and drive and purpose.
– There are some lies that I tend to believe – lies I need to stop listening to so that I can clearly hear the voice of God speaking the truth into my heart.
– There are some things in my life that waste my time – I need to rid my schedule of these time-wasters and stop telling God that I don’t have time for….that I never have time to…that I’m too busy …Time is a gift from God – a good and perfect gift.
What is God asking you to get rid of so that He can fill you to overflowing? Is there anger that God is asking you to let go of and instead be quick to listen and slow to speak?
So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like GLANCING at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 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. – James 1:21-25
The study of God’s word is a wonderful thing. Spending time each day in God’s presence is vital. The question is whether or not we allow God’s words and his teachings to change who we are and how we live. If I faithfully study the Bible and I daily write “My Morning Coffee” – what God is speaking to me from the Scriptures I have read – but I don’t allow it to change who I am and what I do, then I am simply a student and not a servant.
As Beth Moore says, “The doing causes the changing. Not the hearing…The Word of God, however, is meant to do more than penetrate. It’s meant to activate.” [Beth Moore, Mercy Triumphs].
I am reminded this morning that my study of the scriptures needs to include more than a cup of coffee, it needs to include a mirror. When I look in the mirror, I need to see who God created me to be – the life He intended for me. When I walk away from the mirror, I cannot forget who I am in Christ. I want to be satisfied with nothing less than fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. As Beth says – “My hearing needs to turn into doing so that my believing can lead to blessing.” [Beth Moore, Mercy Triumphs].