“It doesn't matter what I do throughout the day as long as, when I lay my head down on my pillow at night, I know what I believe.”
Last night as my small group walked through James 2 together we discussed this thought and many others. The quote above is a statement a collegiate made five years ago as we discussed her walk with the Lord. She, like many of us, had daily struggles that she wasn't ready to give up, and yet wanted to reconcile or justify them in her mind. But how true or false is this statement? I think we find the answer in James 2.
I invite you to grab your Bible and perhaps a cup of coffee and join me as we walk thru this chapter for the next few minutes.
Lord, open our hearts to hear and our minds to understand in the way only You can do. Amen.
Your Bible may have James 2 broken into two main sections, Favoritism (1-13) & Deeds (14-25), but remember James wrote this as a letter without chapters and verses, so this division was not in the original text. As we begin our study today, read thru the entire chapter and see what common theme threads thru all 25 verses.
Here is what I found: The first half of the chapter addresses favoritism and why it is unacceptable in God's sight. The second half addresses how our faith without deeds is dead. The common theme proves our opening statement false. James is explaining here that how we act throughout the day absolutely matters.
Read through verses 14-25 again. James gives three example situations of “deeds.” What are they?
1. Verses 15-17…what kind of deed is this? or what kind of need is being met?
2. Verses 20-24…what kind of deed is this?
3. Verses 25-26…what kind of deed is this?
As you can see from these three examples, deeds aren't just random acts of kindness. Rather, they are choices to love people the way God loves them, to be obedient to the direction of the Lord, and to go out of our comfort zone to do what is right in the sight of the Lord.
So as you take a few minutes to reflect on this chapter, what is the condition of your faith? Is it dead, very much alive, or somewhere in between?
Below are a few other verses that my small group discussed in relation to this chapter, cross reference these and see what other insights the Lord might shine on this subject.
I Corinthians 13:1-3 Psalm 86:11 Ephesians 2:8-10 Galatians 3:1-9
-What people group do I show favoritism too? What causes this predjudice?
-According to verses 4 & 9 what does favoritism make us? How does that impact you?
-According to verse 8 what is the “cure” for favoritism?
-Read verses 20-24 again. Are you at a point in your journey with the Lord that you would obey God even if He called you to do something extreme like this? Would you even hear His instruction? Or is your life so noisy you might miss the opportunity to be obedient because you simply didn't hear Him calling?
-What other thoughts or reflections do you have?