Skip to main content

Just a little pause to look within

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? (James 2:14 NLT)

Just about every week I ask myself what my actions are revealing about my relationship with Jesus. Why do I ask this of myself? I guess it is because I know there is a root of selfishness in me that sometimes allows little compromises and unholy actions to slip into my life. I don't want these little things to become bigger things, so I spend some time just evaluating those actions in light of what scripture tells me about how it is I am 'supposed' to be acting. It isn't a bad thing for each of us to do on occasion - evaluating our actions to see what they reveal about our relationship with Jesus. We might just find our relationship needs a little 'tune up', so to speak. 

In the second chapter of James, the topic of showing preference to some individuals over others has been presented. Why? There is a human tendency to give some better placement in life based upon what they have, can do, or who they are. This means we give a lesser placement to others by the actions of elevating one over another. As a reminder of the limitlessness of God's grace, James wants us to recall salvation isn't a thing for the more 'fortunate' in life, but for the masses - evil, good, well, sick - it matters not what their condition is in this life - Jesus reached out for all of these. In this mix, we find ourselves - not sure where we fit on the scale, but in terms of God's grace, we are ALL equal. No one gets a greater degree or measure of his grace - grace is an equalizing force in ALL of our lives.

If our actions reveal we are not always allowing a view of others as 'equalized' through the grace of God, then we have a potential of being a little 'prejudiced' toward some and discount the worth of others. To this end, James wants us to remember there is no place for such prejudice in the house of God. A believer's heart should NEVER give any more preference to one over another - because grace draws us equally to the throne of grace and equally distributes the grace that perfectly makes us 'equal' in all respects.

Another way to look at our actions is in light of how Christ 'acted' toward others while he was on this earth. Herein is a view of what it is like to live out our daily walk. He was faced with all kinds of 'issues' and difficult people. In each occurrence, he found a means to reach beyond the surface of what others revealed or 'put forward' in order to meet the deeper need of their soul. I think we do well to consider how well we reach the 'soul need' of others around us. Are we just superficial in our relationships, or do we find ways to get at the 'soul need' that is buried a little deeper below the surface in these relationships? 

We may not always find we have great revelations of things we could do differently each time we do these evaluations, but trust me on this one - do it often enough and you will find there is ALWAYS something of God's grace we could embrace a little more! Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…