A huge THANK YOU to those of you who have participated in this with us and have shared stories with us!
Lynea Brown: James 1:1-27
As I read James 1, I am specifically drawn to verse 27.
It’s one I’ve heard more times than I can count but I realized I have often missed the last part of it. It’s trendy right now to use the first part of James 1:27 to give ourselves a pat on the back for speaking up about whatever social cause we are passionate about.
It clearly says that pure and undefiled religion is caring for the widows and orphans. This is what God wants – everything else is peripheral and not significant to pure religion. But what I’ve missed in the past has been the end of that sentence: “…AND to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
True religion is both an outward action AND inward heart posture. Preaching one without the other isn’t truth.
This passage reminds me that I can support all the “right” causes and repost all the correct hashtags, but if I am ignoring the need to lean into God’s Grace as I seek to live set apart from the world, the only “points” I’m getting are shallow virtue signaling points.
James teaches us that social issues matter significantly but so do our hearts. I do not want to forget one and settle for a half-truth because half-truth isn’t truth.
Corrie Dunkerton: James 2:1-26
When I read James 2:1-26, our Ethiopian partner church, Leku Keta, immediately comes to mind.
I have listened to them share how we have said “Go in peace; be warm and well fed” and actually done something to help them with their physical needs.
But verse 5 is where my mind wanders to them most: God has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith. They love their neighbors well – those of other faiths, those who have harmed them, and those who are in need.
It is a humbling community to be among – seeing their righteousness, not just by faith but also by their deeds.
Kennedy Garrett: James 3:1-4:17
Through this season of immense feelings of loneliness and separation from community, God has been leading me in drawing inward and learning about myself.
Even from this introspective time of self-discovery and awareness, God has been teaching me that my life is not all about me. In James 3:1-4:17, God was touching the parts of my heart that were caught up in my own narrative.
If my faith in Jesus truly does change everything about me, then that is true of the way I view, treat, and interact with other human beings in my life.
Human beings that Jesus loves just the same as He loves me.
Lindsay Yochum: James 5:1-20
As I reflect on the last chapter in James, there is so much that speaks to me about how God is guiding me to handle the things in our world that are so challenging right now.
All of these things are so difficult for me personally even without all the added stress of current events. Patience is one of my hardest things, along with punctuality and perseverance (but that’s a whole ‘nother scripture.)
God is asking us for patience and trust – to wait steadfastly in Him (James 5:11). We are continually disappointed by the world, yet I often find myself searching there for immediate answers when I should be looking to God and His purpose in all of this. And within this patience, He also asks me to trust Him in my suffering. To know that especially in my weakest moments, prayers of faith have great power (James 5:13-15).
My desire is to be reminded of the incredible, divine power that prayer holds; that laying down my burdens to Him is more powerful than anything I might be able to do on my own.
It has been a privilege to walk alongside and learn from one another throughout this James journey. Check out what others have learned over these last few months.