James 1

Today let’s read James 1.

James is one of the most immediately practical books of the Bible. Every verse, it seems, speaks directly to everyday issues in life. The first paragraph here in 1:2-12 tells us why God allows any kind of problem into our lives as believers. It is because “the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (v. 3).

Verses 13-18 tells us how to handle temptation to sin. Verses 19-27 address how God’s word seeks to change us in every day life. When we listen to the word and obey what it says, it teaches us to control our anger (vv. 19-21) our tongue (vv. 22-26) and to care for the weak and defenseless (v. 27). All of these things are hard to do so they demonstrate real spiritual growth in a person.

The core of this passage is in verses 22-25 and verse 22 states the main truth: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” This is ever-present temptation for any Christian who reads the Bible daily and attends church regularly. Whenever we are consistently taking in God’s word, part of us will think that is good enough. But verses 23-25 addressed that tendency by telling us how foolish it is to learn God’s word without applying it to our lives. It is as foolish as looking in the mirror, seeing messed up hair or smeared makeup or a big coffee stain on your shirt but doing nothing about these things and going on your day as if everything is perfect. God’s blessing, according to verse 25, is given to those who consistently read God’s word and do their best to remember and apply it to their lives.

So keep this in mind as we go forward in these daily devotions. God wants to inform your mind so that he can change your life. Knowing God’s truth is essential because transformation never bypasses the mind. But knowing the truth is only the first step; obeying the truth is the true end goal of Bible reading, Bible teaching and preaching. The Bible’s truth should always be life-altering.

Maybe this discussion has reminded you of something in your life that you know needs changing but you haven’t made that change yet. Take a few minutes to ask for God’s help in that area and think about one or two action steps you can take today or this week to move you closer to obedience.