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Bible Challenge – James 1

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22 (NLT)

I was 18 the first time I read this verse. My youth pastor had been challenging me to begin reading the Bible, and each time he challenged me I gave some lame excuse. Finally one night, I remember climbing in bed, picking up my Bible and thumbing through the page trying to find a place to start reading. To be honest, I was skeptical and at the time didn’t really understand why or how reading the Bible daily would change anything.

That night, I decided to read one chapter each night for at least a week.  Since the book of James was only 5 chapters, I decided to start there. As I started reading, God began to work in my heart. It was as if this letter was written directly to me because I was going through these things. I was going through some serious trials where I was searching for who I really was and what I was going to do now that I had graduated from High School.  I was dealing with a ton of temptation. Sometimes I’d give in and sometimes I wouldn’t.

But then I read these words, “But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says.” Those words pierced my heart! I was convicted because I grew up in Church and I had heard God’s Word being taught on several occasions, but I wasn’t doing anything to apply the things I was hearing, I was just going through the motions.

I remember, thinking to myself, how come no-one ever showed me this verse before. I mean come-on, I’ve been in and out of Church since I was a baby, my parents were Sunday School teachers, my grandfather was a pastor, and I am just now reading this.

God really used that verse to get my attention. Today, as I read this, I’m reminded of how important it is to be TOTALLY PRESENT when I am hearing or reading the Word of God. Sometimes it’s easy to sit down to read and glance over what I am reading because 1) I’ve read it before or 2) because my mind is a million and one other places at that moment. However, being Totally Present means that I am reading or listening with an expectation that God is going to speak to me through what I am reading or hearing. It means that I’m not only going though the motions, but motions are going through me. (that sounds cheesy but I think that’s a really deep statement). Bottom line, it means that I begin to adjust my life, no matter how easy or difficult it may be, to align with the things God says in His Word.

Today, my prayer is that God would speak to each of us through His Word and that we would begin to adjust and align or lives around His Word. That when we read it, when we hear it that we would be Totally Present and allow His Word to change us from the inside out!

Father help us to not only hear your Word, but help us apply and do the things we hear and read so that our life will align with your Word!

  1. Holly Elliott
    September 13, 2010 at 8:11 am

    There is so much in James 1 that it’s hard to zero in on one thought! But from the beginning I was convicted by James addressing himself as “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…” and then in verse 18 he said “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among his creatures.”

    What does it mean to be a “bond servant?” Totally submitted, as opposed to being partially aware. And what does being a “first fruit” look like in real life? First fruits were the very best offerings, the unblemished and the near perfect. If we as believers are to be the unblemished gift to God for Him to use, how do I measure up? Sadly, not very well for the most part.

    Lord, may I offer myself to You and Your service today as a first fruit. Help me move through my day with the awareness of my inclination to sin and use me to accomplish Your will in this day, that I might be a worthy offering to you and your kingdom. In Jesus’ name!

  2. September 13, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Holly – Awesome! Thanks for your transparent heart and sharing some insight with us!

  3. John Below
    September 13, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    The verse that stuck out in my mind from James was verse 17: “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God the Father, who created all the lights in the heaven. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

    When I read that verse, a visual crept up during the rest of the chapter. I pictured Earth with a large cross sticking out of it. When a light shines onto the globe, a shadow of the cross is set. Withing that shadow, you feel comfort and peace. When Earth rotates, the shadow moves across the surface of Earth. However it is the world that moves, not the shadow. The world decieves the eyes of those who do not see the light that never moves and the cross is still in the same place. We can choose to go with the motion of the world and maybe find a small piece of the shadow of the cross when times are tough, but will just find trouble as the world turns; OR we can choose to go against the direction of the world to always stay under the protective cover of the cross and have eternal peace.

    I pray that we all go against the norm and stay under the protective cover of the cross. It is natural to go with the flow. May we all be supernatural when we go against the flow.

  4. Kelsey Webster
    September 13, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    I remember reading this in our “small groups” over the summer! I absolutely loved it and took it strait to my heart!
    My favorite verse in this is James 1:19! My dear brothers, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry!
    I think every one can take a lessons from this because we all want to talk about ourselves before listening to others.

    Another verse I like “if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault James 1:5
    This just shows once again that our God is amazing and will forgive us over again!


  5. Matthew Minor
    September 13, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    So I was a slacker and just now finished reading James 1 but there was one verse that stood out to me. It was 1:27. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” What I saw in this verse was an answer to a very big question. How does God look at Religion? And I love how simple yet amazing our God’s answer is. God seems to simplify all the “does and don’t”‘s of man’s religions into two easy to remember “rules”. Help those that really need it and keep yourself pure.

    If we all actually did those two simple things how different would our lives be? How different would this world look? Sadly I know that I can not do this. But that’s where God’s grace and mercy comes in. Thankfully God doesn’t expect us to be perfect in anything we try to do. If you think about it God really only asks Christians to do one thing. Never stop trying to be like him and trust him to make up the difference.

  6. September 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    John, Kelsey, Matthew, thanks for posting and getting this thing rolling! Hopefully as we go we pick-up momentum and not lose excitement! Hope you will come back often to post thoughts and learnings!!!

  7. Jackie Sade
    September 13, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    When i read James 1, i highlighted a few verses that stood out to me, but the one that meant the most to me was the one that you used too:

    “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” John 1:22

    I feel like i’m pretty good about listening and learning about God’s word, but the part that i struggle with – the most important part – is actually applying it. Jesus wants us to act upon what we say we believe. Our lives should be an act of worship everyday.

    God, I pray that you give me the boldness and the strength to act on your word. I pray that you show me the sinful areas that i keep trying to hold on to, and that my whole life would worship you, not just on Sundays. Amen.

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