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As you already know, Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ mommy and adopted daddy, had many children. One of their sons was named James. James was a follower of Jesus too. Long ago James wanted to write a letter to share some of the things he had learned from Jesus.
Do you want to learn some of the things from his letter? Yes. Me too. Here are some of the things he said:
Consider it nothing but pure joy when tough stuff happens to you. Tough stuff will make your faith strong and long lasting.
But if you need wisdom, just ask Him! He’s really generous! He loves to give. So if you ask, He’ll give you wisdom. When you ask though, make sure you believe Him. Don’t doubt Him. A doubting person is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. People who doubt God shouldn’t think they will get anything from the Lord. That’s double-minded, and a two-minded person is unnnnnstable.
Always be very fast, fast, fast to listen and very ssslllooowww to speak, and even slooooowwwwwer to get angry.
Make sure you DO what God says. Don’t just sit. Don’t just sit and listen! But sit, listen, and then DO — Live IT! If you only sit and listen and don’t Live it, then you’re like someone who gazes at their own face in the mirror and then when they walk away they totally forget what they look like! How silly is that?!
But the person who instead peeeeers into God’s perfect law of freedom and focuses his attention there, and who does not become a forgetful listener but who lives it out — he’ll be blessed in what he does.
Don’t give special attention to people with fancy clothes and jewelry, while treating someone who has little money and dirty clothes badly. That’s being prejudiced, having favorites, which is a sin. And sin is sin… whether it’s murder or being prejudiced.
What good is it if someone says, “I have Faith… I Trust in God,” but they don’t DO anything that shows they Trust Him. Like if you see someone who needs food or clothes and you say to them, “Bless you. Keep warm and eat well.” Hello!? If you don’t give them what they need, what good is that?
If your faith in God does not also go hand in hand with good deeds, then — (Phht… sound) — it’s dead. You can saaaaayyy you have faith… but I will show you my faith by the things I DO. You can’t just say “I believe in God.” Even satan’s little minions believe in God.
Remember Abraham. Oh yeah! He is the Father of Faith! And when he offered his son Isaac on that altar, his faith was perfected as it joined together with what he did, his actions. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
Same thing with Rahab too. She did something about what she believed. You see… Faith without doing something is… dead.
James also talked about your tongue. Yeah, your tongue. Can you wiggle your tongue?
James wrote about how your tongue is a teeny, little part of your body, but it can get you into big, trouble. When we let that tongue start saying anything it wants, it can be like lighting a match, which can start a wild, out-of-control fire that can destroy things we care about! Or when the tongue just starts bubbling out any words it feels, then those words can be like poison to those around us.
But if someone learns how to control their tongue, then it can help bring the whole body under control — just like how a bit in a horse‘s mouth can control the whole horse or a rudder can steer a huge ship.
Who is wise and understanding? Let them show you by the good stuff they do in the gentleness that wisdom brings.
Bitter jealousy and selfishness, boasting and lies against the truth. “Wisdom” like that does not come from above but is earthly, natural, and from the devil.
But the wisdom from above is pure, then peace-loving, gentle, willing to listen and yield, full of mercy and good fruit, with no prejudice, and not hypocritical. The wise are peacemakers who quietly plant seeds of peace for a harvest of righteousness.
So don’t argue with each other. Where do you think all this back and forth, back and forth fussing with each other comes from? Fussing with each other happens because you want your own way, and you fight for it deep inside yourself. You selfishly want something, and you’re willing to fight and fuss to get it. You don’t have because you don’t ask, or when you do ask, you only ask so you can use what you get for self, self, self luuuuuvvvvvs.
Did you know that God says there are people HE will fight? He said He will fight against people who are prideful — people who are self-absorbed, self-serving, self-satisfied, self-involved… or think they are self-smart, self-able, self-reliant, self-determined, self-taught, or self-sufficient. But the good news is that He says He will give help to people who are humble and know they desperately need Him. So, let’s be humble. We want God on our side helping us, not fighting against us!
Do you know my favorite thing that James said? He said, “Resist the devil and he will run away from you. Buuuuut… come close to God, and God will come close to you.” So, snuggle up! Draw close to God in love and obedience every day. Snuggle. Snuggle. Snuggle. Get close! And then God will come close to you!