Dwight Fletcher | Real radical:The Mirror
We are on a journey through the book of James in a sermon series titled Real Radical and nothing else is going to get us through hardships in a way that God approves except a Real Radical approach. Here is a universal truth, troubles come to all people. Jesus himself said,"In this world you will have trouble..." John 16:33 NIV, and oftentimes it can easily leave us feeling overwhelmed.
James chapter one teaches us that in order to gain strength to endure trials, we need the Word of God, and to get radical in facing troubles we need to:
1. Appropriate the word of God
To properly appropriate the Word of God, James told his readers: "...21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you." James 1:21 NIV.
The Word is really more necessary to us than food. It is the foundation of our beliefs, the instruction of how we should live and it has life in it. Therefore, we have to be eager to read it and hear it taught!"... faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17 NKJV. Our attitude must be that nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important to us than taking it in!
2. Apply the word of God
The Word of God is like a mirror. So James writes, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:22 NIV. His meaning is clear. Just as the person who has no interest in hearing the Word of God is deceived about his or her spiritual condition, so is the person who is content to hear and not obey. "Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it not forgetting what they have heard, but doing itthey will be blessed in what they do." James 1:23-25 NIV.
The text identifies two kinds of users of this 'mirror':
a. The forgetful glancer (vv. 23-24). James uses the illustration of a man who looks at his face in the mirror, rushes out the door, and forgets what he saw. James is not describing a man with a poor memory, but rather a man with poor priorities. He is saying that when trouble comes, the man has no reserves in God and will stumble and fall.
b. The thoughtful gazer (v. 25).This is the person who 'looks' intently into the Word of God, taking more than just a casual glance; who sees themself in the light of God's Word with a view to putting it into practice.This person looks intently into the Word of God and does what it says and so receives the promise of God.
3. Reflect your faith
Christians need the Word of God in order to face what is coming our way. But, in order to be victorious, we need to take it in and live it out. James later identified three marks of true faith that are essential to living out the Word of God.
a. Taming your tongue (v. 26). James first called his readers to 'bridle' their tongues."Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." James 1:26 NIV. Sometimes we speak inappropriately and if our tongue is not under control, then as James said, our religion is worthless.
b. Caring for the needy (v. 27). James reminded his readers to visit the orphans and the widows in their trouble, the most helpless in that time. He called for us to show compassion to the most helpless.There is a grace that the Lord passes to us, helping us in our need when we have helped others.
c. Living unpolluted by the world (v. 27). James encouraged us to: "...keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 NIV. Society can pollute us in our thinking, our speaking and our doing. James is encouraging us to maintain both personal integrity and moral purity and to refuse to allow culture to set the standards for our beliefs and our conduct.
Is your mind therefore in the right place? You may be going through a hard time now, but are you anchored to the Rock? The blessing of God is on those who are securely attached to Him. By their obedience to Him they receive His power, strength, provision, and favour.
Can you say that about yourself? Do you need to confess that you have prioritised everything above Him? It is not too late; God is calling you.