James – Dealing with sin
When Christian believers gathering churches, everything that can go wrong sooner or later does. Outsiders, on observing this, conclude that there is nothing to the religion business except, perhaps, business–and dishonest business at that. Insiders see it differently. Just as a hospital collects the sick under one roof and labels them as such, the church collects sinners. Many of the people outside the hospital are every bit as sick as the ones inside, but their illnesses are either undiagnosed or disguised. It’s similar with sinners outside the church.
So Christian churches are not, as a rule, model communities of good behavior. They are, rather, places where human misbehavior is brought out in the open, faced and dealt with.
The letter of James shows one of the church’s early pastors skillfully going about his work of confronting, diagnosing and dealing with areas of misbelief and misbehavior that had turned up in congregations committed to his care. Deep and living wisdom is on display here, wisdom both rare and essential. Wisdom is not primarily knowing the truth, although it certainly includes that; it is skill in living. For, what good is a truth if we don’t know how to live it? What good in an intention if we can’t sustain it?
According to church tradition, James carried the nickname, “Old Camel Knees” because of thick calluses built up on his knees from many years of determined prayer. The prayer is foundational to the wisdom. Prayer is always foundational to wisdom.
May we not be offended with the writings of James but be challenged to repent of our selfish driven ways and run after Jesus, see how He lived and follow His ways. Jesus is Head of the church. May He always have that position in our hearts as we study the mission of His church. May we learn to love and follow Him in wisdom and strength…which daily changes our behavior drastically…In Jesus Name, Amen