We are now studying James as a congregation. This past Sunday, August 5th, we studied James chapter one. The key verse of our discussion was verse 27 which says, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
The thing I love so much about the writings of James is the way he speaks in practical terms about how our faith is applicable to everyday life. He teaches us how to deal with trials, how to understand temptation, how to deal with finances, how to confront the evil in our own hearts, and most importantly - how to please God.
James reminds me that the focus of our religious practice is often misplaced. Our thoughts and efforts need to be directed toward people who are powerless. As we read together into the second chapter, James will say more about deeds being necessary to our faith.
As you read James chapter two this week, think about this question: "How does my life reflect the faith I have in Christ?" Do your words honor Christ? Does your use of time and money speak of your love for God and for your neighbor?
May the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit fill your heart with joy and give you guidance for everyday living as you read the Letter of James.