James – Dealing with sin
I love to be outside enjoying God’s creation. It is the amazement of His creation, seeing how things grow, observing the complicated intricacies of each flower, leaf and tree that fascinates me. Nothing is greater than growing things that we can we can actually serve at our table!
As I admire His handwork, I then see a weed. Ugh. I pull it up from the root as my mom taught me, “or it will just grow back”. As I water the plants, I see another weed or two hidden underneath the most beautiful plant I have in the garden. Ugh. I pull it up, trying to get to the root, but it is a tough one. So I go get a shovel so I can dig it up and throw it out. Some weeds take more effort and time. I love gardening but hate the weeds. Weeds, if allowed to grow, ruin the beauty of a magnificent landscape.
So it goes with our lives. Weeds pop up. God shows us where they are. God is the Gardner, says James, and He will “landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” Are we weed-free?
James warns from the beginning of the passage, “Post this at all the intersections!” “Lead with your ears…” “let the tongue follow”. Think then speak or act. One who listens to God first then acts on what he/she has heard from God will be blessed, will continue to mature, will see the weeds in our lives that need to be pulled, allow God’s Hand to pull them out by the root, and will “find delight and affirmation in the action. Wow!
Take a hard long look at our landscape. See the weeds. Don’t ignore them hoping they will go away on their own. They won’t. Get at the root. Allow God, our Gardner, to bring beauty once more to His Created.
“…whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God–the free life!–even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action.”
James 1, The Message
Act on What You Hear
19-21 Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
25 But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
26-27 Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
Yes! Act on what we hear. Let God do his best landscape work in and through us. No one can keep the garden weed free like God through Jesus Christ can. Allow Him to keep the weeds pulled up from the root. Real faith reaches out to others in need of a Savior. Less talk, more action on what we hear. In Jesus Name, Amen
One last thought…don’t be the weed in someone else’s garden.
And I’m singing…
Let the Beauty of Jesus be seen in me…