Friday, June 20, 2014

Back at James

It's "The Longest Day of the Year" Eve y'all. To most that would mean nothing, to me that means everything! For a girl who loves some sunshine, I'll take every minute and hour of it that I can get. It's all about the Vitamin B. And because it's Friday.. and because I get off early.. and because I now have my Beach reads.. and because I was thinking about nothing but the pool at 5:48 AM.. I declared it a NO make up to work kind of day in preparation for going to the pool as soon as the clock strikes 3:30. All about that clock-strikin' today! In the words of that philosopher (or one who was charged with questionable activities) R.Kelly, "It's the freakin weekend!"

BUT before we get to the clock striking 3:30, I wanted to share a little something that has been and continues to challenge me.

You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that He jealously longs for the spirit He has caused to dwell in us? But He gives us more grace.  James 4: 4-6

I've been back and forth in James for quite a few weeks now. Each passage takes on a different, more vibrant meaning every time I read it. I am humbled and thankful for God's goodness in revealing Himself to me through His Word.The few verses listed above are honestly ones that I have not taken to heart too much. I see "adulterous people" and breeze on through. I am aware of the multiple levels of the use of this term, yet it hasn't quite had the effect James was shooting for - until today. 

I think it's easy to look at the Israelites throughout the entirety of the Old Testament and see unfaithfulness. From generation to generation, God's people continued to turn away from Him - they even created a golden calf shortly after Moses left to receive the Ten Commandments. His commandment in Exodus 20:3 to have "no other gods before me" was meant to command the Israelites' attention and affections for God, and only God. It's easy for us to look at the Israelites and quickly say, "How could they do that? They were wrong."

I think it's even easier for us to fail to recognize that we are no different.  This is what James is referring to in the passage above. I was reminded in my Bible study this morning that the only way we can be adulterous people is if we are married. In effect as followers of Christ we are married to Him. When our hearts long/desire anything other than Him, then we are the adulterous people James is referring to here. We are no different than the wayward, unfaithful Israelites that we so easily look down upon and trudge through the Minor Prophets learning about. Let that sink in. The desire for control, perfection, relationship, affirmation, fame, or any other desire with a stronger hold on our lives besides God is a desire that is turning our affections away from Him. We have become unfaithful to the One we are in relationship with! God's desire is for us. He wants all of us. Yes, He grants us blessings to enjoy; but, His desire is for us to be completely His. This is clear by His constant pursuit of us; He doesn't grow weary. In fact, "He jealously longs..." He longs for us with all jealousy of being the only One we look to.

Whew! There is such the tendency to go down a path of examining the ways in which we have failed God and others. I do it often. Yet, I am most thankful for verse 6 - "But He gives us more grace." God gives us grace despite our adultery. Our weary hearts strive and try to fight without Him - but He gives more grace. And that is beautiful!

In hindsight, the title of this little 'ol series is so appropriate because as we live and walk, we are to be faithful to the One who has given us everything. He is our shield and very great reward. - Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 7:25

No comments:

Post a Comment