James Study: Week 2

Good morning everyone and welcome to another week! My prayer for you this week is that you find joy in the little things. Let's get straight into today's reading...

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James 1: 19-27

Listening and Doing

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger[g] does not produce the righteousness[h] God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

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The first thing I notice in this reading is the very first verse. James doesn't say "never get angry", he says for us to be slow to anger. Anger is a useful emotion when angry for the right reasons and handled correctly. We call this righteous anger. We should be angry about injustice for tragic and horrible things like child slavery. We would be robots if things like that didn't get us angry and make us feel heartbroken! So the type of anger we need to avoid is unrighteous anger.
I love how James says we shouldn't just listen to God's word, we should also apply it. He uses the analogy of looking at yourself in the mirror and then walking away and immediately forgetting what we look like. I love this analogy because I view the Bible as a mirror. It is the only book that reads you and I. It convicts us and tells us what we are doing well and what we are doing not so well. If we see that we have food all over our face when we look in the mirror, we would naturally clean it up. So when we read the word and realise we could be more kind and loving, why would we then not change our behaviour to be that way? When we see flaws and room for improvement, we should actively apply God's word to our lives and try to improve in that area. 
Another huge point that stuck out for me is verse 26: "If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless". Worthless is a weighty word! We need to keep a right reign on out speech, just like a bridle controls a horse. Words can bring life or death. Words are so very powerful. I'm sure you can think of a time someone said something hurtful to you. I remember things al the way back when I was 7 years old. Words truly are so powerful, so let's make sure we use them to encourage and build people up, not tear people down. This is just another reminder to think before we speak. What did you guys get out of this mornings reading? I have been loving this study so far with you guys! x
June 13, 2022 — Beth Parkes

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