Receive and Run With It
James 1:17-25 states, "Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. but he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
These verses are wonderful for us to meditate on during this Christmas season. Here are some things that we learn from these few verses...
First of all we are all reminded that any good and perfect gift that we enjoy is from God (verse 17). Do you have a roof over your head? Praise God that He has seen fit to give you one! Do you have running water? Again, praise the Lord! Do you have an amazing church to learn, grow, and serve the Lord at? We all need to remember that ALL these things that we take advantage of are GIFTS from above!
It is also amazing to think that it was His will to give each of us life (verse 18). He decided a LONG time ago that you would be a part of His beautiful creation. He decided that you'd still be on earth in 2007! Don't forget this as each of us is here for a purpose. Be encouraged to seek the Lord before the New Year to find out what He desires you to do in the year 2008.
After reminding us that we are here because of Him and everything we have has been given to us, James now urges us to be a listener (verse 19). He warns us to be "slow to speak." So many of us always have something to say. In James 1:2, we are told, "if anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body." No wonder God desires us to be "slow to speak." We ALL mess up with our words because none of us are perfect. It seems that the less we say, the less we will stumble! Now, I'm not encouraging all of us to go around in silence... please do not misunderstand. I believe that James is writing this to us to remind us that God has something to say to us if we will truly listen. HE IS THE ONE WHO GAVE US LIFE in the first place... so if we walk around thinking or pretending that we have all the answers, we surely will stumble because "pride comes before the fall." Let it be a challenge for all of us to listen to what God has to say to us this year through our personal devotions, our pastor, our leaders, our circumstances, and our trials.
This leads to the next lesson where James tells us to be "slow to wrath" (verse 19-20). This word for "wrath" can mean "anger, indignation, or vengeance." He goes on to explain that this kind of attitude does not produce the righteousness of God. As we are in the stores and the malls this season, let us remember this command! Let us show the world the righteousness of God!
If we can be grateful for all that God has given us and lay aside our selfishness, pride, and anger; then we will be able to "receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." Yes, His Word will be implanted in our hearts and we all should desire to RECEIVE it with MEEKNESS. To "receive" His word means to "accept" His Word and "take" His Word. We all are familiar with the verse in Hebrews that tells us that the Word is living and active. Well, when was the last time the Word became alive to you? If you cannot remember the last time it did, it has probably been too long! Dive in fellow servants! Listen to your Creator so that He can lead you, encourage you, and hold your hand! Once the Word becomes alive to you, RECEIVE IT, ACCEPT IT, and TAKE IT!!!!!! For it surely has the power to save our souls!
Finally, in verses 22-25 James reminds us to "be doers of the Word and not hearers only... he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." Do you want to be blessed fellow believer? Of course you do! The way is easy... DO what the Bible says! After receiving it, accepting it, and taking it.... JUST DO IT!!!! Let us find out what the Lord wants us to do this day, this week, this month, next year and may we all be blessed by our GIVER of LIFE!