Monday: Not What it Seems – James 1:1-18
There is a tendency amongst many of us to focus on the negative things that happen to us and around us. We see only the potholes and forget that once the roads were all dirt and dongas! James encourages us rather to see things through God’s eyes – trials build faith; riches are irrelevant. And when things go wrong don’t fall into the trap of laying the blame on everyone else. Resist the temptation to hold God and others responsible for our own faults.
Tuesday: Look in the Mirror! – James 1:19-27
James was very down-to-earth and focussed on how we should live our lives as believers. He gives us some sound advice in these verses: listen more and talk less! (v19,26) and learn to control our tempers (v19, 20). We should also take care to guard our moral life – what TV do you watch? What magazines do you read? What jokes do you laugh at? Finally, James tells us to absorb God’s teaching given to us through the words of scripture (v21).
Wednesday: Discrimination is a Sin! – James 2:1-13
Few of us are overtly prejudiced. However, it’s also true that much of our behaviour towards others is coloured by our upbringing and our education. Our attitude towards others is subconsciously influenced by what we learnt in our childhood and by the society in which we live. It’s very difficult for us to change the habits of a lifetime – ask the Holy Spirit today to give you the strength to overcome and follow Paul’s command not to be too proud to associate with people of “low position.” (Romans 12:16)
Thursday: Words are Cheap! – James 2:14-26
James isn’t pulling any punches – “faith without deeds is dead!” Are you exercising your gifts in the Lord’s work? – or just your tongue! It’s very easy to talk about Christian love and charity. We may even do the right things when the task is not too onerous. Challenge yourself before God today – are you doing all that He wants you to do? At the same time however, be careful not to misunderstand James’ words – we are not made righteous by what we do but only by what Jesus has done for us. It’s his blood that makes us righteous. But once we are made righteous that should evidence itself in what we do.
Friday: Tame the Tongue! – James 3:1-12
Do you ever listen to yourself? That may seem a strange question but so often we speak without thinking. We join in conversations thoughtlessly; we pass on gossip needlessly; we criticise others unnecessarily. Our tongues can so easily betray us. Who is the real you – the one who praises God on Sunday, or the one who gossips and swears on Monday? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to bridle your tongue.
Saturday: Everyone for Himself? – James 3:13-18
It’s a dog-eat-dog world. While half the world lives in life-threatening poverty, the other half indulges itself to excess. As a result, the world’s in a mess. And most of it is brought about by ‘envy and selfish ambition’ (v16). As Christians, we should be living differently – humble, considerate, full of mercy, impartial and sincere (v17). Look in the mirror today – what truly motivates and guides your life?
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”