SPOKEN PRAYER: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
But He Gives More Grace
by Dave Mann
The identity of the original recipients of the letter of James is somewhat ambiguous. The opening verses state that they are scattered throughout the world, but no church in a particular city is mentioned. However, it is clearly addressed to people who believe in Christ. The word “brothers,” meaning fellow believers, is employed no fewer than fifteen times in this short epistle. So, the first readers of this letter were indeed people who considered Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.
Nevertheless, the criticism that James lays on them is rather severe. These believers are living as though they are following the world’s principles rather than following the Lord Jesus. This misguided approach of living in the world while claiming to be a Christian appears to have been a problem for first century believers much like it is for those living in the 21st century, sad to say. Here is a list of the things that seem to be common among believers, drawn only from these ten verses – fights, quarrels, battling desires, coveting, lack of prayer, selfish prayer, friendship with the world, enmity against God, and more.
If we (or they) live like the things most important for us are what we can see, touch, and feel –- longing for money, sex, and power –- then we reveal that we are not really living under the lordship of Jesus.
Some have said that the same problems appear in the church as appear outside the church. However, there is one hopeful sentence placed squarely in the middle of this sad commentary that describes worldly Christianity, verse 6 – "But he gives us more grace." That is the source of water for a dry and thirsty world -- God’s grace. The answer to sin is not condemnation, but rather grace and forgiveness. That’s where the power to change resides.
Lord Jesus, you know when I trust more in the world than in you. By your grace, lead me to submit myself to you. Help me to resist the devil, to come near to you, to wash my hands, to purify my heart. Allow me to humble myself before you. All this is possible, but only by your greater grace. Amen.