Sunday, September 19, 2010

James 4 - The Attitudes of Faith (or Not)

by Becky

LINK: James 4

BACKGROUND

Remember that there were no chapter and verse markings in the original epistle. Chapter 4 continues to flesh out the thoughts of Chapter 3 where the characteristics of the wisdom from God are listed, contrasted with the characteristics of earthly wisdom. Scroll down to Carol's post yesterday for a list that shows the contrasts.

James 4 would feel right at home in the book of Proverbs, because like Proverbs it is a collection of proverbs or aphorisms (concise, pithy statements of truth). It begins with a diatribe, a kind of rhetorical question/answer form, directed toward those believers who damage the community by their self-centered ambition. This diatribe uses war as a metaphor, pointing out the devastation that bickering prompted by selfish desires can cause in a church.

REFLECTION AND APPLICATION

This chapter counsels humility and dependence on the LORD. We are to live counter culturally in our attitudes.

What are some specific ways, according to this chapter, that we are to live counter culturally? What should our attitudes be? Make a list.

The last verse of this chapter is one we would do well to remember. We often think of sin as doing what we shouldn't. But we are told here, "... Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." (New Living Translation)

So sin is not simply doing wrong things, sin is also the failure to do what we should. If that doesn't keep us humble, I don't know what will. No wonder we need Jesus' death!

PRAYER

Help me to live humbly before you in faith, LORD, realizing how very much I need you. I am so limited; I don't even know what tomorrow holds. I want to know you, to live for you and not for myself. Thank you for your promise of grace.
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