Nowhere else in the Bible as works-based as the book of James is. For him, it is by our works that our redemption is validated. And James is not alone in this. If you look at the Old Testament, we see a very external relationship with the spiritual experience. Atonement is shown by the sacrifice of livestock. Grieving is shown by the tearing of fabric. Deals are brokered by the passing of sandals (true story). James just picks up where the Old Testament left off, for the Bible is a very Hebrew-centric manuscript and reflects their cultural experience.
Where people get confused is they come to the conclusion that it is fact our works that saved us, that it is by a series of merit badges or brownie points that we are saved. This creates a sense of guilt for those who feel they have not done enough and a sense of pride in those who feel they have checked all the appropriate boxes. In the Gospels, Christ is quick to dispel both feelings. He goes to the outcast, even the criminal moments from death, and says, I am enough. To the self-righteous, He urges to drop the charade and come follow Him. We are not the authors of our salvation, even our own faith. All of it is a gift.
If it is a gift, then what is works? Works are the fruits of our salvation. Out of our love for Christ and for others, we do good works. Out of the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we venture out of our comfort zone to perform miracles. You can “like” and “love” as many posts as you want, but still there comes a time when we are called to show our love in a real sense, to give of ourselves either in time or treasure or ability, as a physical manifestation of our spoken claims.
Always be listening for these opportunities, for they are often small and pass quickly, but partaking in them makes a world of difference. So today, keep your eyes, heart, body, and soul open. You may just have the opportunity to change a life and let them know they truly matter and that your affections are real.
Bless and be a blessing. Amen.
Guys, we have to take a long, hard look at chivalry. When it’s true and good, it’s great. But a lot of time it’s demeaning. Unfortunately, Christianity has taken on both the good, the bad, and the ugly now and again.
We cannot feed the homeless while secretly believing they are all economic sponges and violent, drug addicts.
We cannot do missionary work in other countries while building walls between us because we believe they will rape or kill us and steal our jobs.
We cannot open doors for women and buy dinner while seeing them only as fuck-buddies, unable to do the same jobs as good as or better than us.
These things are not compatible. We may say we love everyone, but this love is often cheap. It’s more a love of love rather than a love of others. We must respect everyone. That is how we love. That is how we help. That is how we grow.
When we look at each others as equals, we see that there is in fact a lot of need out there, but we are not only empowered to meet that need but also empowered to empower as well.
“I couldn’t do that, people are watching”
It’s exactly because people are watching that we must do it
Do what is light and love and true
For if we do not, if we are silent,
we silence the Holy Spirit inside us
the voice, our Jiminy Cricket,
that instructs on all that is pure and good and holy.
Do it so that people will see,
for their sake and for yours,
a taste of something good
It’s time to stand in the gap
Caring for those in need
The government ain’t gonna do it
It’s time to return to our origins
To be so known for our love
that it resonates in every strata of society
Time to make a change now, y’all
Starting this moment
There are prisoners in jail
There are poor needing food
There are lonely needing friends
There are opportunities to better the lives of others
around every corner
Will you keep your eyes open to see them,
your ears to see them,
your hands to reach them, your feet
The opportunities are there
Will you accept their invitation?
If you’ve made it this far,
You’ve made it this far
It’s not easy
I’m sure there were times
Maybe you wanted out
to give up to give in to say it’s not worth it
I’m better off gone
but you’re not gone, you’re here
Thank God for you!
You are wonderful!
There’s no time like the present
Start making a difference
You are the pebble in the pond the endless ripple
Go out and touch the lives of many
who will benefit from your light
Expel the darkness
It’s a new day
Live it to the full
Do what inspires you
Do what entertains you
Do what completes you
Do what connects you
Do what enlightens you
Do what blesses others
Do what blesses God
Do what blesses yourself
There are so many opportunities
in the waiting
Do them, starting today