Do The Word
Greetings everyone, I pray that each one of you is doing well. If not, I encourage you to let me know. I’ll add you to our prayer list, or, if you’d prefer, my personal prayer list. I don’t get to see some of you anymore. Covid messed us all up, in many ways. If it's been a while, drop me an email and give me an update. I’d love to hear from you. I miss you.
This being said, today I would like for us to continue in the first chapter of the book of James. Our focus is to remind ourselves of the proper attitude that a child of God should have and work to continually develop. This is an attitude that prepares us for the life of servitude to Christ which all of us are required to some extent to fulfill.
We spoke last week about perseverance. Having the attitude, and the mindset to persevere through difficulties. We need to expect and anticipate difficulties. Our adversary is evil and experienced. So evil, that many of us are too naive to imagine how truly evil Satan is. And as far as experience goes, well, let’s just say that Satan has been around longer than any of us. However, we know who we serve, and Jesus gives us the advantage. We just can’t let Satan trip us up, or tempt us into our old sinful nature.
This is a good place to begin, temptation. James 1:13-15,
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
You and I are responsible for our own sinfulness. It is in our blood. As we grow in Christ, still double-minded, we feel the pull of our sinfulness. We are like sinful pigs, feeling nostalgia for our old favorite mud hole of sin. Instead, we should be sheep, deathly afraid of that mud hole of sin, staying as far away as possible.
This is the battle between our ears that extends to our hearts. If we dwell on our desire for sin, it goes from thought to action. This goes for all sins. Sins of greed, lust, power and control, violence and intimidation, any kind of sin. Psalm 7:14,
“He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment.”
This is a timely reference that fits well within today’s modern headlines. We are overwhelmed with disillusionment today. We get bogged down in the headlines of the day. Disciples today must stay focused on Jesus, not the news. Knowing the news is fine, but staying distracted by the news is not. Do not get caught up in it. Keep your focus on the word of God. Here is another verse, this one from Isaiah 59:4,
“No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.”
The world around us is full of sin, so full of sin that we have a multitude of sinful choices. Do not be confused so that you just choose a lesser sin.
You want to choose NO SIN! Satan specializes in giving us the false choice, the one You do not want to make. It’s like gambling in Las Vegas, the house wins, always. You may win a little, but the house wins all the time, in huge amounts. Satan gets us to choose in situations where every choice is a sin, and in lessening degrees. We choose a lesser sin, thinking we’ve done well. But we’ve just chosen a smaller mud hole.
Do not take the bait. Do not play this game. We don’t need to be less sinful than our neighbors. We need the blood covering of Jesus’ perfect sinless blood. No sin should be our goal.
We need to be prayed up, asking God to forgive us of our sins. Stay away from those mud holes of sin that trouble you the most. We must learn to confront our sinfulness and control it and cover it with the blood of Christ.
God will use a sinful person for his glory, yet, that sinful person, without the blood of Christ, goes to hell. Do not be this guy. Always remember, Romans 6:23,
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We cannot serve ourselves out of eternal death through our good works. Another deception of Satan. James 1:16-18,
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth (our 2nd birth, for we are born again) through the word of truth (Jesus Christ, the Word), that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.”
Do not, do not, do not, do not let Satan deceive you!
Do not let Satan deceive you with the shiny things of this world which have absolutely no eternal value. Because he will try. Satan will try to get you to trade your eternal life with Jesus for what, some mud hole of sin designed especially to tempt you away from your eternal life in heaven.
Don’t let Satan con you into trading your salvation and eternal fellowship with God for a mud hole. It’s not worth it. A mud hole is a hole with mud in it. It’s worthless.
Take charge of your sinful nature by bringing it under control. The control of the Holy Spirit. Prayer, seeking forgiveness, and confession, all under the tutelage of God’s Spirit will guide you through this process.
Confess your faults, Confess your shortcomings, confess your sins. Get better at what God wants you to get better at. This can happen in your prayer closet alone with God.
Do you know where God wants you to improve? If you don’t know, you are not speaking with God’s Spirit enough. Take control of this process by diving in with the Holy Spirit.
I promise you will not be disappointed. It just might save your soul. James 1:22,
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
This is just what I’m telling you to do. Live a biblical life. Don’t worry about the sinfulness of the world. The world is going to hell. It really is. You cannot control the world. We can’t even control the world around us. Bad things are happening everywhere. It has been this way for thousands of years. The world is in confusion, the church is in confusion, and mankind is mistreating mankind. It has been this way since the garden. The Bible is full of a world in confusion, a church in confusion, and people mistreating people. The disciples, though slow to learn, are our examples, because they stayed focused on Jesus. The Holy Spirit then came and completed their development.
No, we cannot control the world. But we can control ourselves. Do not just listen to the word, put it into action. Do the word. Do it. Do just what the Bible is telling you to do. Don’t be distracted by the world. That’s when Satan shows you to a mud hole. James 1:22-25,
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.”
You can’t save the world. But you can save yourself, through Jesus Christ. If you can save yourself, you might also help show your loved ones and friends the way to salvation.
Take charge and do the word. Go on, do it.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC