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James chapter 1 commentary

   “Howbeit the Spirit expressly says, that in later seasons some will revolt from the faith, giving heed unto seducing spirits and teachings of demons. In hypocrisy speaking falsehood, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron. Forbidding to marry, commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them who believe and personally know the truth; Because every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be cast away, if with thanksgiving it be received. For it is hallowed through the word of God and prayer.”  1 Tim 4:1-5

Behind the Battlefront

   Ever wonder why days, weeks, months, and years go by before we realize our time seems to have been wasted?  Some of us, indeed, have been able to realize the fulfillment of our goals to various degrees, while many of the rest of us have given our lives over to the process of survival - pushing ahead personal hopes and dreams for ourselves and others, while striving through the adverse conditions wherein we are immersed. Whether or not we have been personally successful, we can look around us and wonder if our efforts have been worthwhile because our society has been diversified into chaos.

   Life, and its living, many times brings to us a disgust for the failures of the moments combined with an appreciation for the parts of the moments we choose to fondly remember. These moments of satisfaction we hope to build upon, by revisiting times and events of days past, in a way which brings a reordering of our perspectives and meanings. Most often we keep in our hearts a collection of our acceptances and rejections that are based in whether we feel others have respected our place in life, or rejected our desires and intentions.

   Combined with our opinions about what others have or have not done to and with us, we have an inner catalog of joys and regrets about our responses to others. This process becomes a self with which we identify and become. Because without it, without the decisive balance of categorizing others into evils and goods, we have no internal foundation of our own stability. In it all, we live in a world that, through its collective fears of losing its own worth, has thrown aside its own worth to find self destructive pleasures.

   James knew this thousands of years ago. He had a heart with equal concern for the individual as well as the entire world. James understood how the interaction of our individual motives and desires are created to be a part of a larger picture - a picture designed by an overall and personal God who has our true best interests in His will.

   The Epistle of James expresses an almost angry protective chastisement a disheartened parent has for a wayward and disobedient child. His is an intense and anguished love of concern for anyone who happens to be blessed with his words. This is an extension of God’s witness to us as our Heavenly Father. Through this letter, James provides a stern but warm and uplifting instructive call to living a better way.

   But, it is not only a better principled way of living, James extends to us the heartfelt methods and ways of living within the power and joys of God’s own creative expression though us. He does this by sharing his regard for maintaining sensible priorities of responsibility. Responsibility through prioritizing our attitudes and activities brings to us the freedoms that can only be realized through respect for God’s standards of authority.

 

Chapter One of The Epistle of James

1   James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

   The political and social atmosphere of Israel, during the time when James wrote this letter, was oppressive to the commission with which Jesus charged His disciples. The structure of the Hebrew state government was a theocracy established by God, the Creator, for the purpose of bringing about His plan of redemption for the entire world. This plan of redemption was not a method of living according to a set formula of principles. It was a plan for a particular Man, a promised King Savior, who would rule over the people with loving kindness and prosperity.

   The priests and scribes were the keepers of obedience to the Law of Moses while working to keep pacified the dominant outside governmental control by Rome. Caesar himself claimed to be a god, the god of the entire world, so it was fitting for Rome to have a puppet king and his military controls established to reap benefit from Israel. Because of this, James was in the position to uphold the ideals of God’s concern for the twelve tribes of his people in opposition to the dominant forces of society.

   The Hebrew people lived with a contradiction of state powers where the church was stripped of the powers of state by a foreign ruler while the foreign ruler allowed the church to function separately. Thus, the seat of the power of the authority of God’s government through the church became nullified. God’s people were servants, slaves, to the Roman Empire to satisfy Caesar’s demands and the priests and scribes were mere role-playing-puppets of ritual and tradition.

   Consequently, the leaders of the Temple of government of the people, had put Jesus Christ to death in order to maintain order under the powers of Rome which held control over the region through the state. James understood the duties placed in the hands of the twelve tribes to be God’s example to the rest of the world, according to Mosaic Law, and through faith living in Jesus Christ. This epistle is his witness of encouragement to everyone, everywhere. It is to realize the reality of the power of responsible living as God intends.

 

2   My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

   James’s brethren, his brothers and sisters, are you and I as much as they were his country and people many years ago. The primary temptations that believers were faced with then, we still face each day in our own lives. We have a tendency to strike out against anything we deem ungodly (anything that takes us out of our personal comfort zone) and thereby become ungodly ourselves. As we recognize a wrong, we identify with the wrong through resenting the harm done to us. This motivates our self protective instincts, to deny the wrong we now carry inside, by striking out against the source of the wrong.

   The reason we do this is we have a tendency to separate what we know from what is true by identifying with our knowledge instead of the source of the knowledge. When we see what we know as our reality, we forget that the knowing comes from either one of two sources. There is an instinctual knowing of a personal and self preservation nature that has open doors to the adversary, and there is a purposeful knowing from God Who opposes the influences which work to keep us in our own will.

   If we can keep our hearts dependent on trust in God to know what He is doing in each moment of our life, then the knowing we rest upon is a dynamic and unselfish sacrifice of who we believe ourselves to be to accept who we actually are in Christ. By becoming ambitious in our endeavors to protect our right to have things right we spend our time to manipulate the circumstances, with regard to our inability to change the will of another and/or others, to bring about an outcome which will relieve the internal pressures of our own sorrows and pain. This is why we accept pleasures to offset our emotional turmoil and confusion.

   A pleasure can be a victory over others by identifying others with the difficulties they have presented to us. And a pleasure can be a compensation within ourselves to feel better about our indignation over a perceived wrong. So, a self elevating diversion away from our internal frustrations seems to us to be the good that offsets the evil we are working to avoid. Then, the “good” we have experienced for ourselves takes the place of godly expedience, in comparison to the evil we identified as unacceptable, making it easy to call our resentment driven ambitious pleasures a gift from God. This is where the good side of the knowledge of good and evil deceives us into believing our goodness is God’s goodness.

   The joy we find, as we meet trials and temptations, is based in the reality and security of God’s victory over all things through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. All people and situations are ultimately subject to the will of God. Through our active obedience to His fulfillment in Christ we have the freedom to live according to His faith. The entire world, and everyone and everything therein, was bought and paid for on the Cross of Christ. His reordering of existence unto life is brought through the truth of Christ’s resurrection, so that the victory we have in Him can be extended through our hands to those around us.

   Anything we may do for our own sake is only a reaction to others doing what they do for their sake. But, in Christ under the authority of God, anything we do for His sake will be helpful and not destructive to everyone’s souls. As Jesus stood in for us in all our miseries and corruption to bring His solution to our plight, we have the opportunity to respond to the situations around us in a way that brings others out of their evil and into God’s light of glory.

 

3   Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

   Paul, in Roman’s 14:23 says, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” This is because the measure of faith we are given from God is the same faith Jesus drew upon to face the Cross in our behalf. The power of His resurrection came through the prophecies of the prophets over the centuries before, and from Jesus Himself. He rose from the grave because He said He would. The exercise of faith, the actualizing of the measure of faith we are given as a gift from above, is active obedience to the promises God made to us.

   This active obedience does not start with the physical actions of putting our hands to the tasks of living. It starts, moment by moment, as we give our emotions and thoughts over to God to be replaced with His prompts of awareness of understanding and wisdom. As we trust Him with our life, instead of relying in our own education and sensibilities, He gives to us a new and better way of seeing others and the situations wherein we are immersed.

 

4   But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

   Our patience and endurance is based in our surety of knowing God is God. He is in control whether it looks like it or not. This does not mean that God approves of evil, or that evil acts of atrocity were supposed to happen because God allows it. It means that people allow evil and corruption by handing the authority God gives to everyone over to the adversary and the powers of darkness. The only power the entities of darkness have are the powers of authority we are deceived into providing.

   When we think about the wicked deeds of others and how our community lives are affected, we tend to pounce upon the errant ones as being responsible for the holding aside of our peace and security. This is where the adversary steals our victory: to get us to blame others for his work of darkness because each person has the right to choose what they do or do not do. Because, whether we realize it or not, we are responsible for all others in Christ, our indignation over the evil that has spilled out from others into our life, intensifies our own wrongs.

   When we see another taken in a fault, we fear our own faults and transfer our own guilt of association with darkness into the others who have identified themselves with error. This brings a false justification of our faith because it is a lifting up of our own self righteousness at the expense of other’s failures. Thus, the emotional security of our personal victory calls for a perpetuation of the failures of others.    When we consider perfection, it is obvious that we cannot achieve perfection as we understand perfection. James is calling us to be whole and sound in the completeness of God through His Son.

   Jesus is perfect, and as we cast our cares and troubles before Him, He lifts us up into His glory of victory. This allows us to lift others up into the life God gave to us to share. It does not mean we will not make mistakes - it means we have the power of forgiveness to extend to anyone who asks us to forgive them. We need to be more forgiving of ourselves and more honest with others by not covering our errors for fear we might fall short of their expectations. We fear condemnation of others because we know we are already condemned without our trust in Jesus Christ.

 

5   If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

   Worldly wisdom is based in the building up of the self through self determination, education, and economics. Working together with others toward these goals brings aspirations, goals, objectives, and compromises that take on a sense of divine purpose without the Divine. Certainly, God provides to all of us a natural grace and authority for living. He wishes us to use our attention to respond to His call on our life. But, without living unto Him in the ways He designed, we translate the gift of our awareness of the authorities of life into creating a world we hope to enjoy.

   If we have answered God’s call on our life, we usually meld His call into our worldly network of wisdom to justify holding onto the ways and things God has called us to cast aside. It is curious how we esteem education programs as being the source of wisdom when the Bible says the wisdom of God cannot be obtained through the efforts of training. Presented throughout the Bible is the promise of God Himself to give to us the gift of wisdom if we ask. We do not deserve God’s wisdom and we cannot work to achieve God’s wisdom. God gives to us His wisdom in the moments we live.

   As we trust in Him through the authority of faith He has provided to us, we will notice people and situations around us that need our attention. If we can do something to help others in their difficulties, then it is our place to help them and God will provide the strength and endurance to carry the tasks through. If we do not have the means or ability to step in where we know there is a need, then we can call upon others to assist. In this, we must never circumvent another’s place of authority unto God. Prayer is the fuel that gives to us the avenue of God’s power to overcome the difficulties we face.

 

6   But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

   Indecisiveness is at the root of most of our sorrows. As the love of money is the root of all evil, a wavering faith is the conflict of categorizing our attentions to simultaneously use the world to our own benefit while feigning a humble heart for God. As God is our source of supply, and His promise to us is provision of a full and happy life in Him, we allow this understanding to sink into our egotistical self determination to succeed. This causes us to fall to the temptations the adversary is ever using to convince us that we are somehow better than someone else.

   We wish this because we secretly believe others are better than we are. Surely, we must defend our place in life against the powers of darkness working through others to bring us down, but the collective ways of the world and its attacks against our resolve to serve God, have found their way into our own motivations and desires. It is good to consider that our wallowing in the balance between wishing our desires to be fulfilled and our Godly concepts of the right of truth is not the witness to others we believe it may be.

   In many ways, the others we hold as enemies of our faith are identical to us in their struggles with the issues of our reasons for living. Everyone wants the good life in some way or another. But, as Jesus actively set our example, “Not my will, but Thine be done”. It is good to stay in remembrance as Christians that God does not work for us. God works through us, and His working through us is for everyone.

 

7  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

   When we give a gift to someone, we like to hear: “Thank you.” When we do not, it gives to us the understanding that the receiver is not as appreciative as we would have hoped. No one cares to be used or taken for granted. After a time, when we extend our generosity without a grateful response, we are inclined to withhold further gifts. This situation applied to our immediate family brings our sense of commitment into the light of forbearance. We accept a carrying of the weight of service to our children and others for their sake.

   If our intent is ignored or misunderstood, our frustrations that lead to anger and resentment cause us to regret our open and heartfelt desires to uplift others through our extended acts of recognition. Of course, the example we have shown to those others was a mix of true magnanimity and our own manipulative aspirations for personal gain in return. So, we are caught between the meanings we wish to convey to another and the meanings they have conveyed back to us.

   When we see ourselves as children, with respect to our Heavenly Father, there moves into our outlook a tending to our personal desires and a tending to God’s desires. Our desires are much easier to emotionalize than God’s desires so we focus our expectations selfishly. Because many of us believe personal happiness is the goal of life, our personal desires become the things we believe a loving God would be glad to give to His children. So, we categorize God into a grand and holy genie who wants to give to us anything we deem will make us happy.

   Since we believe God is on our side in our quest for self esteem and personal comfort, we are quick to fight against any inference or suggestion that would tell us otherwise. We cannot imagine having to endure the sacrifices that, for example, Paul endured for the sake of God’s Word. What the Lord of our life has for us may be quite different from what we want for ourselves. The thankful joy in the Lord in response to His provisions is not the same as the happiness we find in acquiring personal satisfaction, even though the physical situation may be the same. It is not what we accomplish that brings our reason, it is why we accomplish that gives the reason.

 

8   A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

   We want to have so that our having establishes who we are in relation to others. To feel worthy of our own existence we accept a place of interaction with others who validate, positively and negatively, a feeling of our worth of being. The acceptance of our mutual having causes us to lose a consciousness of the self worth of being a special and unique individual. So, we establish a habit of finding our securities of independent self through the securities of the group. This causes one group to set itself aside from another group in order to establish an independent and special sense of having.

   When there are conflicts between groups, the conflict reinforces the differences of the groups, which reinforces the collective bond within the one group. As the giving up of having an independence of self is used to integrate the having of the group, the individuality by which a member uses the group to keep established, must reassert itself by causing conflict within the group. Double minded processing is a role playing way to compensate for our fears of failure.  Living our dreams of self willed ambition causes us to form an egotistical right to emotionally driven confirmation.

   When we have established a sense of who we are, we try to mold our faith in God, through our surroundings, to validate an escape from our fears. But, we know the process has only served to expand and deepen our fears, frustrations, and resentment. To compensate for this, we strike out against groups and individuals who remind us of our own failures to be humble enough to allow God’s will of purposes to govern. Largely ignored by our society, because of the ideals of absolute equality, is the structure of authorities designed by God.

   The adversary works predominantly through the manipulation of realigned authorities. God’s designed strength of freedom through the responsibilities of living, the holy, “chain of command” is: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son (Who is within the Father), the Holy Spirit (Who is within Christ), a man (who is within the Holy Spirit), a woman (who is within the man), and the children (who are within the parents).

 

9  Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:

   The love of money, and the devices of physical security it can buy, has become god to many people. Because of money, or the lack of money, our social ills and travesties have overtaken the foundations of society. It is a fact that the majority of people will never be rich while the general assumption of most people is that each person has an inherent right to be rich. The yearning to make it big in life is taught by our social systems for the purpose of drawing out from us our competitive creativities. This is to serve a robust and thriving economic atmosphere where cause and effect fuels an ambitious demand for supply.

   Our technologies, and the appliances produced thereby, have given to us self validating comforts to which we obligate our existence. This is the giving of our authority of attention to the works of our own hands. Conversely, it is not wrong to appreciate the fruits of our labors for God’s sake. An amazing amount of oil, natural gas, and minerals were underground for centuries. It is not happenstance that God planned for their discovery and use.

   An ungodly phrase many people have misinterpreted to justify their self serving avarice is: “God helps those who help themselves”. This phrase was wrought from the resentful observations of people who, whether thieves out of lack or thieves out of wealth, decided that God is distant and unconcerned with the living conditions of His people. There is a paradox in improving ones lot in life that can be honored with respect to our own mortality: We are to be content with our station in life while understanding the desire to improve. When we see others who are struggling, it is our reasonable service of duty to step in the gap if and when we are able.   

 

10   But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

   When an individual, group, or country mis-aligns the authority based in the hook of the power of wealth, God’s providential Authority, within His plans to bring us through this flesh life into His forever glory, is sidestepped and bound. The holding of personal attainment, without realizing the true purposes for our opportunities, strips our power of faith in the dynamics of God’s outpouring from the lives of others. We become captured by our achievements as if our accomplishments are for us to own.

   We treat our Savior in the same way - we feel like we own our salvation in a way that we defend our blessings against others who have yet to make a decision for God and His pathway of life. This becomes a wall of anger and resentment to the less fortunate and removes the essence of eternal productive consequence from our resources.

 

11   For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

   Priorities of purpose through our endeavors are meant to represent God’s generosity as we are His example. Jesus’ call, “Follow Me.” to His disciples means to be like Him. As we put our faith in Him and His reality in response to any situation at hand for His sake, we will find the use of our wealth becomes an increase instead of a loss. The grace of the fashion of our wealth is its ability to make better the lives of the ones who have fallen into hardship. Ultimately, it is better to stock up our eternal blessings, and those of others, at the “expense” of personal sacrifice in this flesh life. Try to put a value on anyone’s forever soul and compare it with a bank balance that will have no use to us once we die.

 

12   Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

   Temptation is not from the various sinful entrapments of the world’s offerings. Those enticements are the projected symptoms of temptation. Temptation is the heartfelt direction of emotional confusion driving our thoughts into the fears of loneliness, isolation, emptiness, and low self worth. The obvious and reasonable answer of logical conclusion, derived from a wish to escape our emotions of negative intensity, is to find an offsetting positive emotional intensity. Thus, we have a self perpetuating wisdom of the flesh that tells us we need to build our self esteem and pride to be someone worthwhile to ourselves and others.

   By resisting the craving to fill our emptiness and suffering through pleasurable compensations, we are able to be thankful for what we do have in a way that appreciates the very awareness of our existence. God, when recognized as the Authority of our life through the structure of our place unto others, has the finishing of His promises readily available to us. When we, with patience, allow a moment of anxiety over our compulsions to pass into another moment, we have avoided the temptation to respond to our areas of downfall by casting our tensions and cravings up to God in prayer. We then find a strength of resolve and clarity of purpose we could not see before through the emotional draw to chase the obsessions our previous temptations led us into.

 

13   Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

   “Everything happens for a reason.” It is obvious that God wants us to make better, rather than worse, decisions. We know that unintentional mistakes are unavoidable and we know that intentional mistakes are avoidable. There is a blurred line between the unintentional and the intentional where our intentions spring spontaneously and impulsively from the mess we have under the surface of our immediate awareness.

   Complicating our own foibles and mal-education is an ever present pressure of intelligence, not our own, working to destroy our seeking to accept God’s dynamic truth of expression. Our authority within God’s Authority, purchased by Him through His Son Jesus Christ, is waylaid and spun off from our grasp. When we ask for forgiveness for the mistakes we have allowed ourselves to be involved with, we are placing the blame back where it belongs onto the powers of demonic opposition, while accepting our redemption under the finished Work of the Word of God.

   The evils were not allocated by God to tear us down to a place where we had no choice but to turn to reality and sensible living. This would mean that God creates wickedness to destroy us so that He can take us over. That is what Satan does. God is a God of prevention first and foremost - however, He is a God of restoration and reconciliation when we have allowed events to go past the points of avoidance.

 

14   But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

   Every man, without exception, is enticed by his own desires and drawn away from realizing his place of status in God’s kingdom. When scripture uses the word ‘man’ the meaning includes women as the complimentary completion of a man. The Bible says man was not created for woman, but woman was created for man. This is not to say women are inferior to men. It says that a man needs a woman, and a woman needs a man, to complete the wholeness of a marriage. In addition, the Bible also says in many places that the two are one flesh. Accordingly, every woman, without exception, is enticed by her own desires and drawn away from realizing her place of status in God’s kingdom.

   All of worldly interaction, in opposition to God’s created ways of integrity, is a purposeful and diabolical turning upside down and backwards of God’s intentions. Men are irresponsible in the application of their authorities of power and decision making because they have cast aside their reliance in faith unto God. Women are irresponsible, through the rejection of their position unto the failing of men unto God, according to the irresponsibility men have imposed upon them. This has undermined the family structure in a betrayal of women and children by corrupting their protections and securities of trust.

   Materialistic and self possessed men are an example to women to be materialistic and self possessed themselves, which leads to rearing their children to be materialistic and self possessed. So, we have a society turned in upon itself while the members are role playing a feigned and hopeful dreamlike dance of distortion. This is based in the building up of independent self assuredness in retaliation against other’s shortcomings through resentful spite. Then, we draw invisible lines of inclusion and exclusion to try to find a way of dealing with the past difficulties we will not release through forgiveness, and future planning to attempt to eliminate the risks of the hurtful events of the past.

   This is because we do not want to let anything go and if we did, we do not know where to send the baggage we carry. But, it is not a getting rid of the harm that is part of us. It is the working out of God’s mercy and grace through  the process of reconciliation and forgiveness. It is not in the power of anyone, no matter their God given position of authority, to extend any forgiveness without the hand of God in response to our faith in Jesus Christ and His victory in and through our hearts.

 

15   Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

   Lust, though referring most times to sexual exploitation, means: a compulsive desire to have as ones own. Emotional tension spurred on by fantasy to avoid discomfort captures our attention. We cater to our wishful emotions until our fascinated preoccupations push us to act. When we act, it involves violating our own trust and usually the trust of others. When there is an agreed upon consent of involvement it combines with the satisfaction of conquest conquered and gives the illusion of permission through realization. Having given our self over to the experience, the experience has given us over to the adversary of our soul.

   Compulsive behavior is prompted and encouraged in the world to drive sales by profiteering businesses. Business is properly designed to produce quality products by employing people with integrity. When business holds to the order of priority of people first, product produced second, and subsequent profits because of the first two, there is a natural strength of economy which gives to us the securities God intends us to enjoy. Well paid people purchase products that produce profits. Putting profits first inverts the process and the employed are subject to loss of position and income while the quality of products declines.

 

16   Do not err, my beloved brethren.

   If you have something to say, say it. If you know something is right to do, do it. Living honestly unto God is responding to the situations at hand as best we can with what we have. We should not be concerned with what others will say or do because we are not living to please others, we are living to please God. The only exception to this is our relationship with our spouse because we are not separate from him or her. Together we are concerned for our children, and we do have a stake in our community to be safe and environmentally sound. Tact, grace, integrity and respect can be honestly shared with anyone, in a steadfast reliance in doing exactly as we wish, when we rely in faith in God to bring us through the moments.

   We can be certain that our communications and actions will find us growing into a better person. We will be happier and more assured of our place in life. This does not mean we will not have opposition or conflict, but we already have opposition and conflict because most people are inclined to be challenging and opinionated anyway. When we choose not to manipulate and plan our words and actions, while keeping our focus through our faith and away from negative emotions and fantasy, it is much easier to back up any position we hold because there are no hidden motives or alternative secret thoughts.

   When someone is angry with us they are usually trying to taunt us into being angry with them to give credence to their position. It is our job to understand the turmoil and pain others are experiencing probably is not the issue at hand and needs our loving kindness and firm resolve. The Holy Spirit of Truth is ever present to lift them up out of the difficulties and into the patience of faith unto God, if we are willing to stay the course.

 

17   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

   The facts of our existence is staggering to contemplate. If one could imagine infinity, whether vast or tiny, there is no end. For example, divide two points in two, and those two points in two, and those also... physically our tools are too large to eventually divide two points, but there will always be two points to divide. We are unable to know how vast the universe is and what is beyond. We know we have a light of awareness of life that has order and meaning. It is an amazing wonder anything exists at all and the very noticing of the light of life tells us God always was and always will be.

   God, through Jesus Christ, has given to everyone an invitation to be a part of His forever project of creation. When we are rejecting His pathway of faith unto life in Him, we are rejecting our own life of stability and permanence. We hold on to our life of awareness and wish to God we could have more. He knows that if we had more of the fullness of creation to draw from in our living, we would be irresponsible with our power and destroy ourselves and those around us.

   Our purpose here is to become responsible according to God’s purposes for our lives in the limited arena of the flesh world. Then, having learned to live in becoming who God wants us to be in this temporal world, brings us to the fullness of understanding He designed for us to have once we depart to be with Him in the new heaven and earth.

 

18   Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

   God is that He is. Out from Him is His Word of prophecy that became a man Who, in the flesh, was the fullness of all races and tribes. The dynamic Truth of God’s Word that causes things to be is the Holy Spirit. The birth of Jesus Christ as our Savior, unto and into our forever being, is found in His resurrection. When we accept an ongoing active obedience in choosing to thankfully trust our activities to God, we are allowing our souls to be integrated with the power of Christ’s resurrection.

   This is what the Hebrew Passover represents. He was transformed from the death of us into the complete and forever light of living in absolute Truth because He said he would. Everything, from the seemingly most insignificant act to the greatest and most far reaching event anyone and everyone has done throughout the history of the ages, has been directly and personally lived through by God through Christ because the Truth of the existence of life was used to do it. Only He has the authority of power to share through our hand the doing of His will of purpose.

   As we recognize the awareness of a shortcoming in our spirit it is at that moment we have the opportunity to look to Jesus. His understanding gives to us the strength to see the difficulty for what it is and to realize, even though the trouble may hang on through memory and the presence of others, it is no longer a part of who we are. Jesus has replaced our sense of self that was based in identification with our thoughts and emotions, and our activities because of it. We now have His better will to decide what to think and how to feel about others and the events of a day.

   God made each of us unique in a way different from our individuality as we know it in the flesh. We do not know our specific purpose in life as each situation passes through our hands. This is why our trust and faith in God’s plan for us holds a reverence and expectant strength of energy different from the ambitions we experience in carnal pursuits.

 

19   Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

   Everyone has an internal lack, an emptiness that yearns to be filled, based in the belief that who we are is an accumulation of input from the environment around us combined with each our own particular perspective. We believe, without realizing it, the experiencing process of personal attainment is our reason for living. The reaching out, processing to make it our own, and the putting forth in response of involvement perpetuates the emotional ideals of a stable self worth.

   When events and circumstances do not align with the patterns of reaction to our surroundings we wish to fulfill, conflict arises in our internal cluster of categorized anticipations and dismissals. When we are “self” possessed this way, we do not have the faculties of humility to listen to points of view that do not coincide with our goals. We are quick to spill out and back up our frustration led resentment with attempts to overcome obstacles to the comforts we deem are our right. Thankfully, exactly where we see no solution to our incessant insistence to impose our will onto others, we can see where the strength of our responsibilities is in the patient love of God through ourselves and the others.

 

20   For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

   A wrathful man is a coward. Not that righteous anger about the injustices of life makes one a coward - angry indignant response over evil maltreatment has its place. But, a man of habitual reactionary ire toward the misdeeds of others is searching to vent frustrations concerning his own hidden shame. Resentment rather than faith action sees difficult situations as problems instead of projects. Frustrations stemming from the inability to overcome a sense of inadequacy causes us to be tempted to hide our problem(s).

   Then, we look for trouble where we can find it in order to make right in others what is wrong in ourselves, thereby solidifying and increasing our tendencies to the compulsive faulty acts we became shameful of in the first place. We find we are working to require a righteousness around us in others because we do not know how to draw from the righteousness of God. We will never know the righteousness of God and His up building love for us as long as we are greedy to own a righteousness of our own making.

   We are out of control and know it. We believe that being in control will solve the problem and the striving to be in control spins us out of control. When the realization sinks into the core of our being, usually after we have destroyed everyone around us and have reached the end of ourselves, that God is in control; we will find it abundantly peaceful to let God be God in our heart.

 

21   Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

   The fascination with darkness is based in the attractions and excitements of irreverent play. Humor to relieve the pressures of hardship leads to mocking the misfortunes of others and oneself. Though the release of tension through laughter is a benefit to better perspectives, an “any means to an end” attitude of finding fun for the sake of fun casts aside our true reasons for joy. A self lifting haughty feeding on the pleasures around us presumes a bold and impudent familiarity that is opposed to a kind and considerate concern for others.

   We become distanced and calloused to accepting the leading of God and His Truth for us when we clamor toward ongoing excitement. Our natural yearning for God and His life giving peaceable responsibilities are almost painfully ignored when the appeal of some sort of entertainment tantalizes our senses. Our life becomes a counterfeit of experiential witness because we have forgotten the reason we are living.  We can find a strength and freedom in Jesus Christ, through a meek recognition of our place in God’s plans.

   Realizing the importance of the eternal souls of those around us allows a humble appreciation of our duties of life. When we are humble enough to acknowledge a need and have the resources, time, or ability to overcome the struggles of others, for the sake of others for God’s sake, we are given the understanding the gift of wisdom brought to us.

 

22   But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

   Only God knows the full extent of intended purposes for the gift of the Word of life.  There is a certain sensation of fullness inherent in receiving a word of Truth that causes the self to feel actualized. The pitfall is the decision of personal ownership that leads to forgetting the reason God brought His Word to us.

 

23   For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

   An event, and the ongoing events, of the presence of God’s Word in our hearts brings a static reality of our flesh as dead in Christ. But, we are alive in Him in a way that keeps the flesh alive in a new way. Our memories of past separateness from God, memories that reaffirm who we thought we were, spring up in our emotions to plead for life again.

   Being duped into thinking Jesus saved us to be ourselves instead of saving us from ourselves, we reflect on our past desires and project our will into the life changing Word we have received. This causes us to believe the Word is for our instruction and growth as its end. Many times we fall for a trap in thinking God is living for us when we should be understanding that we are being invited to live for Him.            

 

24   For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

   The understanding of who we are in Christ brings a sense of completion to us because the Word is completion. God knows who we are intended to be in His plans. He gives to us a glimpse of our fullness in Him when we allow our self oriented priorities to be subject to His priorities. Without realizing it we blend our own needs and desires with the importance of God’s grace. So housing, clothing, food... all become our first priority if we are to be healthy and successful.

   The competition of the marketplace and our community status leads to feeling a purpose in sustaining our personal status. This integrity of status, whether past, present, or future, is based upon the pursuit of happiness as the result of security in possessions. We tend to feel as if life and its living is an end in itself and we lose our life because of it.

 

25   But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

   Many people believe fighting against wrong is the same as fighting for right. The differences between the two can be found in our responses to the matters at hand. When one is unwilling to fight against a wrong, and/or is fatigued with the clashes, there is a general casting off of a situation to find some sort of peace away from the battle. There can be no solution or resolution in fighting against wrong because wrong has no rules. The sources of influence of wrong are employed to continue fighting as long as we are willing to fight, so the others we are concerned about lose our witness.

   This is how bondage breeds more bondage - we become what we hate. When fighting for right there is a Victor Who holds the final outcome of good. The standards of right, the Ten Commandments, are fulfilled with the power of kindness and mercy in Jesus Christ. The condemnation against wrong through the Ten Commandments has its glory in our reaching out to help others who are struggling. We know through God’s Word of promise that the evil inflictions of ourselves and others is not who we are in Christ.

   The adversary’s primary mode of attack is to deny us our reconciliation to God by influencing us to accuse each other for his work. However, we can help others where we are able rather than indentifying them with the problems overtaking their lives. We do well not to condemn the person while assisting he or she to renounce the darkness of accusation through sin. At the same time, the evil influence working in and through our lives must be recognized and admitted as a difficulty that needs resolution.

 

26   If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

   Well advised are we to speak to others instead of at them. Personal insecurities tempt us to cover what we feel as inadequacies when speaking at others. This is an attempt to establish, through another’s acceptance, the verification of our faith and seeks to find a sense of emotional stability. The presumption that we have given to others 'less advanced' than ourselves causes our pride to lift us above them.

   Shame then follows, through the guilt of our egotistical downfall, and causes us to clamber to rattle our knowledge and accomplishments once again. Knowing and identifying with the truth of God’s principles builds the emotional self will - we are possessed by the idea of God and His attributes the same way we become immersed in the fanaticism of sport and hobby.

 

27   Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

   The world has standards of belief about Christian faith that is based in the knowledge of worldly wisdom. God’s wisdom, and the understanding He brings to our hearts and activities, will many times be at odds to expectations of faithless people. Anxiety over what others think about us brings us into living by worldly standards in the name of God. It is a religiosity that drives our motivations and priorities against the witness we are asked to share by Jesus Christ. The passionate emotional pain involved with identifying ourselves with the suffering and needs of others helps to alleviate our own internal pressures of guilt laden selfishness.

   These are Godly works for our own benefit. But, unselfish works for God’s sake respond to the needs of others around us because the need exists. Right is right no matter how we feel about it - the purpose for our works is consideration for tending to eternal souls. An uplifting light of care dispels and offsets the bondages of darkness weighing heavy in the hearts of others. When we extend our compassionate exertions to aid the less fortunate it is a time to thank God for His mercy and loving-kindness in a way where we appreciate the opportunity of service.

“Whatever negatives that you believe about a man you hide from him, conceals who he is in the positives he has for you from God.”   ~ Darlene Lambert

... He has the whole world in His hands