II JAMES 27
JAMES REVEALS THE UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH
James is the most difficult book in the New Testament to read. This is not because the words are hard or the meaning obscure. On the contrary, the meaning is very clear, and that is the difficulty. Almost every word causes the conscientious reader to realize his shortcomings and the need for serious changes in his life. James cuts to the very heart of the matter, and questions our motives and goals, demanding that we recognize the difference in what God really wants, and the way we run our daily lives.
In his deep probing of human weaknesses and failures, he makes us realize the vast difference in true humility and the way we determine our behavior. Humility means recognizing that we are the creature and God is the Creator, therefore, we are here for His purposes, and not our own. Our actions should be with a consciousness of His will and not simply what we want to do, or what the standards of our peers in society dictate. James calls those who do this “the proud”, as opposed to “the humble”, to whom God extends His grace.
He rails against the “rich”. By rich he does not necessarily mean those who own vast estates and ride in limousines. Most of us are rich by the standard he uses. He is really talking about those who have plenty but ignore the less fortunate and needy. It is the principle of “love your neighbor” in action.
When the Bible says it is hard for the rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it is not necessarily talking about the fabulously wealthy. It is referring to all who are so satisfied with their earthly “wealth”, or possessions and position in life, that they give little thought to the health of their souls. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for one who concentrates totally on his earthly needs and physical existence, and never worries about the health of his spiritual existence, to have faith in the eternal kingdom, much less make any preparation in mind and heart to live in it. God is available as the giver of graceonly to those who believe that He is, and is present all of the time. He observes our daily lives, and, is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him! When we proudly run our daily lives as if we can do as we please, with no thought to the will of our Creator, we stand condemned, even if we never commit a single overt sin otherwise.
As I contemplate this concept, I find it so uncomfortable and yet so emphatically true, that I feel the pressure of guilt myself, and feel I must share this feeling with all of you. How little time we spend in prayer during our average day, and how seldom we consult Him for the way we should go, and the things we should and should not do. Even with the dedicated life of the Apostle Paul, he felt wretched for his own failures. However, his dedicated faith in Jesus Christ, which he cherished and kept alive in constant prayer, gave him the hope to rise above himself and try harder to live a life for the One who gave it to him. “Go thou and do likewise”.