Today we read the book of James. Experts (I'm not one of those) tend to believe the author is Jesus' brother. As I look back at these five chapters, my Bible is covered in highlights. There is so much scripture for our practical use in living out a good life. This book is definitely another one of my favorites. We find advice on quarrels, true wisdom, love, prayer, talking nicely, humility, patience, and suffering, just to name a few. Paul tells us in his many letters that we are saved by faith, not our own works. Yet, James reminds us that living in faith means "doing" for God. If we have faith, if we are faithful, our lives will reflect many good deeds.
So, there is balance to be found here. How do you find this balance in your life? We have faith in what we can't see, and we are saved by grace alone. However, in faith, we are also called to live for God. James points out that our lives are proof of our faith.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?
17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
In light of our reading today, I started thinking about working for God. What am I doing for Him now because of His grace that is always at work in my life? What is He asking me to do next? What do I need to share for Him and with Him? What do I need to change for Him? There are so many possibilities, I realize. I just have to ask Him.
And so, I know I need to pray through it all. James 4 is a great place to start reflecting on the closing year and begin the new year that's right around the corner. Bring it all to God.
2 ...You do not have because you do not ask God.
8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
A prayer for today-
Thank you for Your saving grace. I am drawing near to You God, and I pray You will come near to me. Fill me with Your love and help me hear Your Holy Spirit. Speak to my heart. Tell me, Father, what do You need me to do for You today? I confess that I especially fall short in my struggle to ______________. Show me one step at a time how to live for You.
In Jesus' name I pray,
Peace of Christ,