Living for Christ
Like no other time in human history, global communication technology increases the damage uncontrolled tongues can do. Some leaders rule nations by the force of their speech. Parents and others shape the next generation by what they say and how they say it. How do you respond to careless criticism, gossip or angry outbursts from others? How can you grow in wisdom to make use of modern tools to offer the love and life of Christ to the world?
James 3-5 suggests the way we speak is perhaps the best gauge of how submitted we are to the Holy Spirit’s power at any given moment. Our source of power and our choice of words mean life and death. The tongue is a gift of potentially great and unimaginable good when we submit ourselves to be constrained by God. What words have you spoken to contribute to wars or to peace? Are you quicker to confess your sins of speech and to forgive others than you are to be offended or to disengage?
These chapters describe lives of authentic faith, giving proofs that we are God’s children. God-given faith includes power to transform our thoughts, priorities, decisions and relationships. Every believer experiences trials and temptations. Like learning to walk then run, everyone stumbles in learning to live like Jesus Christ. James encourages us to persevere.
When we take a stand on God’s truth, we must reject faulty wisdom and expect suffering. God may spare us such things; but if they come, we will be tempted to think somehow God suddenly abandoned us. Not so! God’s faithful men and women through history prove He stands with the oppressed and makes them able to stand in faith that overcomes the world. Will you accept conviction and renew your commitment to live by faith in response to God’s wisdom James gives in this letter?
1.Scan James 3 through 5, focusing on 4:1-12. What troubles and temptations mentioned still abound in our world today?
2. How would your relationships change if you could resolve one of these troubles in your life?