April 1, 2019

As you know from the last couple of posts that I have been through the book of James. I came to the conclusion that James was  a man that didn’t sit still. He was a man that put his faith in Jesus into practice. He talks about faith all through his book and that Real faith was a faith that worked, a faith that showed itself to be real by its actions. To James faith was simple > hear the voice of God and obey. When you think about it doesn’t that describe what a mature Christian is? That was all that was required of Adam and Eve and that is all that God requires of us. Simple and that’s no April Fools joke. So let’s read on and see Real or Simple Faith in action.

James 3:1–12 (NLT) — 1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. 3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

Real faith is seen and heard in the speech of a Christian. The Christian with Real or Simple faith has learned to yield his or her heart to the Lordship of Jesus. We know the mouth speaks of what is in the heart,(Matthew 12:34), so having one’s heart filled with the Spirit of Jesus will help to tame the tongue. Real faith keeps the heart burning for the Lord instead burning those around it. Nothing complicated here, right?

James 3:13–18 (NLT) — 13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Real faith is satisfied with knowing and understanding the ways of God. Real faith doesn’t think more of itself than it ought to. Real faith is satisfied with the life God has provided for it. Real faith takes pleasure in yielding to others and bearing the fruit of mercy and good deeds. Real faith understands and practices the laws of Planting and Harvesting and it willing exchanges jealousy and selfishness for godliness.

James 4:1–10 (NLT) — 1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. 4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Real faith avoids the things that would separate it from God. To put it simply, Real Faith stays closely connected to God. It would put on Facebook > me and God BFF! 🙂

James 4:11–12 (NLT) — 11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

Real faith would rather spend it’s time living out the commands of God rather than giving out criticism and judgment.

James 4:13–17 (NLT) — 13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. 17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

Real faith is wise enough to know not to make plans without God. Real faith realizes that it may not be here tomorrow and that today is the only day that matters. Real faith also realizes that sin isn’t just doing something that you know is wrong it is also not doing what you know is right.

Be Inspired Hilltop!