still in James 1…

James-series

The next several verses have thoughts that flow… this is a letter after all, and I am unsure exactly where to separate my thoughts… so, this one’s going to be a little longer than usual.

verses 19-27

19 ~ Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

20~ For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

21~ Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

22~ But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23~ For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24~ For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

25~ But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

26~ If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

27~ Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

These verses quite plainly spell out the HOW of growing and becoming Spiritually Mature.

Previously we’ve been instructed that Patience needs to be allowed to do her perfect work… and this is accomplished through trials and temptations. We are learning to run to God through those difficulties.

crown of lifeWe are learning to ask for wisdom… without our faith wavering. Sometimes I find myself repeating this particular lesson more frequently than I’d like. 😉 I am, ashamedly, often tossed about like a wave of the sea.

We learned that we succumb to temptation when are drawn away by our own lusts

We know that nothing we have or accomplish in this life will effect out standing in Heaven–any and all rewards will be because of God’s good gifts… one of which is helping us endure  the temptations that bring a Crown of Life {that we will then cast at Jesus’ feet!}.

Here, verse 19 is fairly plain words:

Wherefore: because of all the previous we’ve talked about…

be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: I really think this does not need explaining. I just need to remember it! {as maybe you do, too?}

How often do I jump to a conclusion [speak quickly] without hearing all the facts [disregarding the hearing part] {just ask my husband—way more frequently than I care to admit}.

How often do I allow myself to become frustrated, just because -to be perfectly honest- I am thinking of myself and what I want, the next thing I want to do, see, etc. Instead, I should be more patient… allow Patience to work her work.

Because, you see, our anger [the wrath of man] does NOT work the righteousness of God.

It just doesn’t.

And another wherefore… because of these things: we are supposed to lay apart [put aside, throw away]: all filthiness [just what it sounds like: dirty & defiling] and superfluity of naughtiness [excessive or in abundance malice, evil, wickedness].

It sounds as though our Lord is equating our swiftness to wrath and speaking and evasion of listening to being filthy and naughty… not exactly what I want to hear.

So often I choose not to hear this. What about you?

And continuing: receive [take to yourself] with meekness [mild disposition, gentle spirit] the engrafted word [learned by instruction], which is able to save your souls. When we  take to heart and heed this instruction, it is able to save our souls!! {This is not salvation, but saving us from the heartache that comes from the consequences of our sin.}

Though the rest continues, it slightly pivots to another thought.

We are to hear the Word.

This is plain… and our speech and our emotions [anger/wrath] should come more slowly. 

But we should ACT on what we hear from The Word…. or we will deceive ourselves into thinking… well, that just knowing what God says is enough.

And it isn’t.

22 ~ But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23~ For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24~ For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

If we hear only and never do…

but do what? [to be perfectly blunt: strive for Holiness… perfectness of God’s work in our hearts]…

…if we only hear and never do, it is as if we woke up and saw our crazy hair and whatever else might look a little out of place straight out of bed and just let it go…. [I think, personal appearance DOES mean something to God, just not in the way some people try to teach, but that’s another post for another time 🙂 ]…

Would you leave the house without changing into clean clothing and at least brushing your teeth and straightening up your hair? Some days require a little more work than others… and some days I care less than others… but that doesn’t make it appropriate to walk out of my house in a dirty and unkempt manner . [no matter what society is trying to tell us!!!]

When I see my natural face [sinful nature] in the mirror [Scripture], I am supposed to DO something about the dirtiness I see…

so I can be blessed in my deeds:

25~ But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

One last thought… Religion is not bad. It is simply one facet of showing the Love of God to others.

BUT… and this is a big one: if I cannot control my tongue {speech},
my religion is vain and I have deceived myself…

26~ If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

27~ Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Have you ever met someone who fits that?

I know I’ve BEEN one that fits that description. 

Have you?

Sometimes growing up is hard… 🙂

I’m so glad he addressed this to his “beloved brethren” or I might have felt I was being attacked by a judgmental person…

And the next post will begin chapter 2!

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