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Care in Everything: Self and Others
Bible Passage James 1: 13-27
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & books Acts, James.

Care in Everything: Self and Others

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached February 13, 2023

SCRIPTURE 📖
13 When someone is tempted, he should not say, “I am being tempted by God,” because God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.

14 Instead, each person is tempted by his own desire, being lured and trapped by it.

15 When that desire becomes pregnant, it gives birth to sin; and when that sin grows up, it gives birth to death.

16 Do not be deceived, my dear brothers.

17 Every generous act of giving and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father who made the heavenly lights, in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadow.

18 In accordance with his will he made us his children by the word of truth, so that we might become the most important of his creatures.

19 You must understand this, my dear brothers. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

20 For human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

21 Therefore, rid yourselves of everything impure and every expression of wickedness, and with a gentle spirit welcome the word planted in you that can save your souls.

22 Keep on being obedient to the word, and not merely being hearers who deceive themselves.

23 For if anyone hears the word but is not obedient to it, he is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror

24 and studies himself carefully, and then goes off and immediately forgets what he looks like.

25 But the one who looks at the perfect law of freedom and remains committed to it—thereby demonstrating that he is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of what that law requires—will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone thinks that he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but instead deceives himself, his religion is worthless.

27 A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

 

BACKGROUND
The author of the book of James wrote to the Jewish Christians who had left Israel to live in other countries. The author wrote with such authority that he must have been a leader in the church. Otherwise, he would have said which James he was since there were many people named James at the time. Of all the persons with the name of James, two were leaders in the church.

The first of these leaders was James the son of Zebedee. He was the brother of the apostle John. He was killed by Herod the king in about AD 42 (Acts 12:2). As the letter was later than AD 42, this James could not be the writer of it.

The other leader was James the brother of the Lord Jesus. After Jesus came back from the dead, he met his brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7). From that time on James believed in Jesus. He became a leader in the church in Jerusalem until he died in about AD 62. He is the most likely author of the letter.

From the letter, and from what other people wrote about him, we can get some idea about what James was like. He was a powerful man and a leader in the church. He was a man who loved what was right and good. Even those who did not believe in Christ thought well of him. This was especially true about those who were poor. James was active in support of them.

He was against the wicked rich people who did wrong to the poor and the weak. He helped the widows and orphans. He did what he could for those who suffered wrong. In that way, he showed his trust in God and in Jesus Christ. In all this, he was a man of peace and wisdom. But to the rich, whom he spoke against, he was an enemy. Probably this led to his death in AD 62.

In today’s scripture, the author speaks about evil desires as a source of temptation and how God gives us generously. The text also offers some practical ways the Christian should live.

The believer must importantly recognize the difference between the outward trial and the inward temptation. When people are experiencing trials, they can easily be tempted to do wrong and then blame God for their failure. God can neither tempt nor be tempted, because He is holy (verse 13). Giving in to temptation prevents people from experiencing the sort of life that God intended for them. In the end it brings disaster.

Far from tempting to do evil, God is the source of all good. The light from the sun, the moon and the stars varies from hour to hour, but God who created them never changes. Likewise in matters concerning His children He never varies. He never desires evil, but always desires good. He wants them to be perfect, the finest creatures in all His creation, just as the grain that the Israelites offered was the finest in all their fields (verse 18).

A tendency in human nature is for people to become ill-tempered, especially in times of difficulty or stress. Christians must not excuse their ill-temper by claiming that they are defending God’s honour. Such attitudes have no place in the Christian life. They must be replaced by new attitudes that arise from studying God’s Word and putting its teachings into practice (verse 19-21).

Christians must not merely read God’s Word, but must do what it says. The Word is a ‘law’ that they must obey, but it is a law that sets them free, not one that makes them slaves. It is a law of liberty. Christians obey it not because they are forced to, but because they want to. When a person looks in a mirror and sees dirt on his/her face, one is not forced to wash the face, but it is natural that he/she should want to (verse 22-25).

While some people thought their new religion meant that they could ignore the commands of the Bible, others thought that it required them to be stricter in obeying laws than they were before. This latter group prided themselves that they were very religious because of their law-keeping. James points out that the truly religious people are those who control their speech and express their faith in acts of kindness. At the same time they are careful not to copy the wrong behaviour of the society in which they live (verse 26-27).

 

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 All believers must season what comes out of their mouth. They must be sure that it is the truth and does not cause trouble

🔷 We owe the duty to help the helpless and support those in need because God gives us generously

🔷 We need to position and ask God’s constant help to overcome our trials

🔷 We must make the constant effort to allow the Word of God to change us. We must not only hear but do according to the Word.

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Pray that you’ll be a constant student of the scriptures
💥 Pray for widows and orphans

CONCLUSION📙
The foremost pill to use to overcome temptation is the Word of God that guides us. It should help us to learn what to say and when to say it and show us to the way to love the needy.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections