Living Faith: No Longer the Walking Dead

MONDAY :  Read James chapter 2

  • In God’s Kingdom, there is no such thing as partiality or favoritism.  God looks at the heart and loves all people equally.
  • James insists that belief in Jesus must be more than simple intellectual agreement.  Our belief in Jesus must manifest itself in our daily words and actions as well as guide our global world view.  The Word of God is meaningless if we don’t allow it to influence our whole lives.

Prayer: Holy God of Mercy and Unfailing Love, we confess that we have not embraced you fully into our lives. Open our hearts and show us where we continue to deny you access to ourselves.  Grant us courage to surrender fully to your loving embrace.  Amen.

 

TUESDAY:  Read James 2:1-9, Philippians 2: 1-11

  • The majority of people in the early church were poor.  James is not condemning wealth nor is he exalting poverty.  He is, however, reminding Christians that we are not to show favoritism to the wealthy while dishonoring or dismissing the poor.  We are to regard our brothers and sisters in Christ with mercy, regardless of one’s social or economic status.
  • Growing in humility will help us resist falling into the hurtful habits of partiality and favoritism. 

Reflect: We all need grace, God’s gift of love, to grow in our ability to love our neighbor as ourselves.   How has God grown you in this area?  Where do you continue to seek God’s mercy and forgiveness to move away from the hurtful actions of favoritism and partiality? 

 

WEDNESDAY:  James chapter 2: 9-13, Matthew 22: 34-40

  • James argues that there are no such things as little sins and big sins.  If we break one of God’s commands, we have broken them all.  With this knowledge we realize we are all in need of God’s grace and forgiveness.  No one is in less need of grace than another.
  • The Royal Law is the law that sums up all of God’s commands.  It is the Law given by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – Jesus Christ.

Act: Write down 2 or 3 concrete ways you (and your family or friends) can further demonstrate love to your neighbors and to the poor. 

 

THURSDAY:  Read James chapter 2: 14-20, Matthew 25: 31-46

  • We are saved by God’s grace alone.  Our actions cannot “get us into heaven”; only the gift of God’s unfailing love can do that.  When we receive God’s saving grace, we are asked to grow in God’s love through discipleship.
  • A disciple of Jesus Christ believes in Jesus’ teachings, rests on Jesus’ sacrifice for us, receives the Holy Spirit, and imitates the example Jesus set. 
  • A private faith in God that does not manifest itself in love for God’s creation (including other people), is a self-centered faith.   Jesus teaches that to love and care for other people is to love and care for God himself. 

Reflect: There is an infamous saying that goes like this: “Do as I say and not as I do.”   More than one stressed out adult has been guilty of saying this to a child.  James reminds us that our actions speak volumes louder than our words.  Sharing the gospel of Christ is more effectively done when we demonstrate God’s love to one through our actions in addition to our words. Consider the phrase “Love that isn’t expressed through action is not love at all.”  Do you agree with this sentiment?  Why or why not?   How has God demonstrated His love for others through you?  Ask God for insight on how God will continue to demonstrate more of his love through you.

 

FRIDAY:  Read James chapter 2: 21-24, Genesis 22: 1-19

  • We are made right with God through faith.  We show that we exist in a right relationship with God through our actions.  Abraham demonstrates that faith and action work together.
  • The Greek word for “justified” used by James is edikaiothe.  The word has two meanings.  The first meaning is “to be acquitted or to be declared not guilty”.  This is how Paul uses the word.  Edikaioth also means to be “vindicated”.  This is how James uses the word.  When James speaks of Abraham being justified by his actions, he is stating that God vindicates Abraham’s claim to his salvation before other people through Abraham’s actions. 

Prayer: Gracious God of saving love, we know that it is only through your love and work on the cross that we are brought into a right relationship with you.  We praise you for this gift and glorify your name.  Lord, help us to grow in ability to demonstrate the amazing love you have given us by showing this love to others.  In your holy name we pray, Amen.

 

SATURDAY:  Read James 2: 25-26, Joshua 2: 1-22

  • Rahab’s faith may have been born out of fear and pragmatism, but it guided her actions in concrete ways.  God vindicated Rahab by her actions.  

Act: Write down the ways your faith has guided your actions in the past week.   List one concrete step you can take this next week regarding your faith that will help you out of your comfort zone and into a position where you have no choice but to rely on God.

 

 Want to learn more about the Letter of James?

  • Click here for a series of sermons done on the letter of James by Pastor Ron Edmondson.  Mr. Edmondson is the Senior Pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.