Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 28 September 21:
Note: Here is a link to a video overview of James — https://youtu.be/qn-hLHWwRYY
James 1:20 – “…. the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
This is not hard to understand. Christians who have received the grace of God through the blood of Jesus Christ (G.R.A.C.E. – God’s riches at Christ’s expense), who live by grace, and who are called to proclaim the forgiveness and restoration which comes through Jesus, cannot be disposed to anger. There is a righteous anger, which is wholly selfless (an extremely rare thing), but the Bible warns, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26, 27) In the vast majority of cases, there is selfishness and self-centeredness attached to anger, and self-centeredness (even when disguised as concern for others or for ‘justice’) is always contrary to the Gospel and the love of Christ — “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Isaiah 58:4 — Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
James 1:26 – “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
Throughout today’s readings and throughout the entire Bible, we are warned against being deceived by a form of religion which seeks ‘justice’ (too often we want grace when we sin and justice for everyone else) at the expense of God’s command to love unconditionally and to forgive others as God has forgiven us – “…as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13) Take a moment and read Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:27-42. Consider committing these verses to memory.
James 1:26 points out that how you speak to others reveals what is really in your heart. Perhaps only Jesus offers a more powerful statement about careless words than this one – “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36, 37)
What do your words, particularly when you are offended, reveal to others about the love of Christ and its power to transform a person’s heart? God so loved sinners that while they were still sinning he sent His Son to pay for their (your) sins, that they would not perish but have eternal life and be called children of God (John 3:16; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:9). Do your words reveal the same kind of love for sinners? The next time you are mistreated, will you use the opportunity to take up your cross, follow Jesus’ example, and proclaim the Gospel rather than trying to defend yourself?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 28 September 21: Let your temperament and your words reflect the grace of God.
- 1 John 3:16 — By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
- 1 John 4:20 — If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
- 1 John 4:21 — And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.