James challenges us about what might see as the small, everyday things like anger, treating people right, the way we see each other and the things we say. These are what can cause strife and rifts in the church.
While we live in the redemption of Jesus, James is clear it is possible that small acts of law-breaking (the sin that so easily entangles) will spoil whole lives, will limit our potential to live gloriously. However well his readers were doing, if they failed to treat everyone in their meetings with respect, how could they be acting as obedient children? Their dishonouring of the poor believers perhaps links back to what James is arguing in the beginning of chapter 1. Facing trials, facing poverty perhaps, is a sign that God is at work, the process of glorying Himself in that life has begun.
Nowadays we love celebrities! But do we misread the difficult circumstances of brothers and sisters as failure or “neediness”? This attitude is how we fail to honour the ‘poor’ in our fellowships. We are judgmental of our brothers and sisters and we do not see the mistakes or circumstances of their lives as God’s transformational process (see Chapter 1 again). Are we quick to equate prosperity with special favour or holiness perhaps? James is clear, no favourites in the church, only JESUS!
James urges us not to be tripped up by one vital area in our lives that prevents us from being the wholeheartedly obedient people God seeks. We can ruin our churches this way and prevent ourselves from receiving all that we could. It’s about knowing ourselves and keeping obedient and seeing sin as sin.
Remember the honeymoon obedience of God’s people at the end of Exodus, they gave so much in obedience to God they had to be told to stop, and God’s glory was seen!
If our Jesus is in control He is in control of whatever befall us and it will bring Him glory and it can result in our lives being glorious. The Royal Law (2.8) is not simply the covenant law on the tablets in the ark, it’s wider than that. The Royal Law is the fact that without Jesus it is impossible to please God and that without the covering of His blood we cannot please Him. That’s how to live! We can return to Him again and again because His grace is sufficient everything in our lives and the lives of our churches.
* * *
Challenge us again today, Holy Spirit, to look with Your eyes and celebrate the way You work in the lives of our brothers and sisters. Thank You that You are at work in all our lives transforming and renewing.