Reflections on James 1:16-18, 21-22, 26-27; 2:19; 4:1-17; 5:13-20

Don’t be fooled — the gifts that are good — perfectly good — come from God. The gifts of His Word, His salvation through Jesus — these are pure truth, and what is born in us through them makes us the people He intended us to be, bearing fruit for His kingdom.

With awe and reverence — understanding the greatness and perfection of God and our own frailty and weakness — accept that God has planted His Word, His own Holy Spirit, in us to take root and grow and produce fruit. This can save us from falling prey to self and Satan.

But don’t kid yourself that hearing and knowing the Word is enough. (Satan and his demons do that much!) The power of the Word is found in obedience. Don’t just listen: do!

Don’t delude yourself that you can belong to God and still run off at the mouth. If you’re not carefully measuring your words against Scripture and using them to honor God, your “religion” isn’t worth anything, and brings Christianity into disrepute. If you really love God, you’ll be concerned with helping the most vulnerable, while you guard your heart against pollution in an ungodly world.

Fights are caused by focusing on what I want versus what God wants. Praying with wrong motives will be answered with a resounding “No!”

Let’s be real here: when it comes to a face-off between God’s will and the world’s way, you can’t have a foot in both camps. You’re either completely for God or you’re against Him. So don’t submit to peer pressure — submit to God. Satan wants you to resist God; resist him instead. Come near to God, and He will be right there with you, sustaining you.

Leave judgment of other believers to God.

Don’t put off doing good; tomorrow many not come.

Keep a clean slate when it comes to your sins and troubles. Admit your failings and struggles to each other and pray for each other. Let the Holy Spirit lead your prayers so that you’ll be praying in God’s will. When we’re in right relationship with God, our prayers resonate with His power and are effective in paving the way for His will. Elders should pray from a corporate discernment, not a formula.

Don’t let someone die in their sin just because you’re afraid to approach them!