James 1-3, Psalm 31
I have described my son, Michael's, testimony previously. After accepting the offer to be discipled in the Word of God over 4 years ago, after 1 year he accepted Jesus as his Savior. But the process of getting rid of his old ways was a slow and difficult process. While he was in the Word, in church, etc. life seemed so clear to him. But on the weekends, back with his friends there was a completely different wisdom at work in him pulling him in a completely different direction. Many who come into a relationship with Christ try to straddle the fence keeping one foot in the world with it's philosophy and wisdom , with the other foot planted with Christ following His wisdom. The problem is that these two wisdoms are mutually exclusive and have nothing to do with each other. One will ultimately win, or else you will constantly be living without peace. The book of James shows that the Christian life is not just a belief system and philosophy which we give mental assent to, rather it is a way of life. This life is to be believed and acted upon. If our faith doesn't show evidence of a changed life, then that faith is dead. Faith produces fruit and true belief produces obedience.
In James 1:5-8, we read, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." We can either seek God's wisdom or the world's wisdom, but the two are in opposite directions. Many suffer from the paralysis of analysis as they try to merge the two. We have to decide which wisdom we draw from. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Many in the world, without evidence of the fruits of the Spirit like to say that they believe. James dispels this concept in James 2:19-20, "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" In Matthew 3:8, John the Baptist preached, "Bring forth fruit that demonstrates your repentance." A true commitment to Jesus Christ will bring forth changes in our life.
If we lack peace in our lives, we must ask where are we getting our advice from. If we are relying on self-help books, television, social media, worldly counselors, even our worldly friends, then we shouldn't wonder why, as Christians, we find no peace. If we are more concerned with trying to fit in with the crowd, rather than being separated for God, life will be convoluted and difficult. Fruit emanates from the Spirit filled life. We are not saved by our good works, but works will naturally flow from the individual filled with the Holy Spirit. The process of sanctification, or becoming more like Jesus is a life long process which will not be finished this side of eternity. But, are we on that journey?
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: