On Monday I read the whole book of James in the Bible.
Not to get through it quickly for the sake of it, but because it was so good I just wanted to read it all. I typically only read a chapter or two at a time and reflect on those specific sections, but yesterday I just wanted to keep reading.
I do love the book of James; it’s a short one, only five chapters, but so meaty! Every sentence is relevant and applicable; I understand what each sentence is asking me to do with my life, and I can ask God to help me do what it’s saying.
Even though I read James yesterday morning, for the rest of this week I’m going to be reading a chapter of James a day and letting it soak in. I’m trying to be more aware of God throughout the day, and am asking Him to teach me specifically through what James says. I want to be a doer of God’s word, rather than hearing something without acting on it.
I’m doing this for numerous reasons.
One is simply to be more like Jesus and have more awareness of where I fall short (but can be forgiven: this part is very important.), as well as wanting to be more aware of God amidst the everyday tasks (such as studying).
Another is to do with expectancy. I don’t always expect God to do amazing things during the ordinary days, but He does, abundantly, when I ask for it. So I’m asking to be shown things and I’m asking to learn and I’m asking Him to do amazing things.
The other main reason is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, which is compromising God’s word.
I think this can be done in subtle ways and obvious ways. An obvious way might be when we tell someone how much God loves them without letting them know about the consequences of sin.
A more subtle way could be when – and I have done this very, very often – you’re in a conversation that turns to gossip, and though you might not actively participate, you don’t try to stop it. (There are many verses in James regarding the tongue and speech, and I’m always incredibly convicted when I read them.)
I’m not saying I’m going to judge those who gossip, and I’m not going to act self-righteous if I don’t, but I am asking God how to be uncompromising without being a jerk. I know it’s possible, because Jesus did it all the time! What a model for us.
No doubt I’ll post a reflection in a week about my experience of learning from James. Who knows what we’ll find!