Today, I want to talk about rescuing people spiritually. We all know someone that has wandered from the faith, and have wandered from God. If we are strong enough, we can do something about it.
The question is: how do we rescue a drifting Christian? James tells us that it is possible for any one of us to wander from the faith. If we aren’t careful we might find ourselves not connected to Jesus. This is an issue that we need to take seriously not only for ourselves but for those we serve.
If you read through the book, you’ll find that James is super aggressive, and he gets in your face. It always feels like he’s yelling at you. We might be tempted to take offense at his tone and just stop reading. However, we need his words because the Christian life is hard. There’s disappointment and suffering and people give up. So, James gives us hard words because he cares about us and he wants us to succeed. I think we will succeed if we learn the lesson he’s trying to teach us.
Today, James’ lesson is about making plans. Great plans. Life changing plans. The kinds of plans that we make for our career and our schooling and our finances and our love life and our family and our retirement. Plans that matter.
Good competition is a gift from God. We get to use our gifts, try our very best and sharpen each other’s skills. However, a lot of the trouble that we experience in life is from competition gone wrong. It’s when we abuse this gift.
For example, when people just want to win an argument; they talk over people and never listen. Or, when people go overboard to prove that they’re worth something or when people who want to get even. All this competition prevents us from living in peace with each other as God intended.
So my question today is how do we live in peace with each other? If we can live this out, live out God’s plan for peace, it can change not only our lives, but deeply benefit the lives of the people around us.
The Christian life is a bit like growing teeth. We are either growing in the right way and in the right spot creating a great smile, or we are growing in the wrong way. The way we grow can have lasting effects in our lives.
If you grow the wrong way, you’ll spend a lot of your life wandering aimlessly. If you grow the right way, you will become all that God wants you to be. You will do really well for yourself and everyone you love.
So my question today is: how can we grow in the right way? Our passage today is telling us that we have to grow in godly wisdom. To do that:
We need to grow out of the wrong wisdom that we live by.
We need to grow into the right wisdom that only God can give.
When it comes to things that you bet your life on, you don’t want to depend on counterfeit things. This is especially true with our religion. Just like all things, there’s a real Christianity, and there’s a knock-off Christianity. We see it in movies and TV shows, Christians who are judgmental jerks, or Christians that raid and burn buildings and promote violence and anarchy in the name of Jesus. That cannot be the Christianity that Jesus had in mind.
Occasionally, you come across Christians who are unbelievably courageous. They’re on a whole different level. William Wilburforce, for example, ended the slave trade in the British empire. Orr Dietric Bonhoeffer, who resisted the Nazis and almost succeeded in killing Hitler. That Christianity is worlds away from the one we see in the media. One, you admire and the other, you despise, And rightfully so.
So our question today, what is real Christianity? In our passage, we’re going to see that real Christianity lives out an extreme commitment to following Jesus by doing good. We see that in two points:
Despite our best laid plans, life sometimes doesn’t go the way you expect. You have all these plans, you’re excited for it, only for it to implode! It doesn’t go your way. It actually goes worse than you thought and it can hit us like a ton of bricks.
My question today: What do we do when life doesn’t go our way, when life gives us lemons?
Our passage tells us that we need to find the blessing in the trouble, and resist temptation within us.
There are Christians who dream their life, and there are Christians who live their dream.
What I mean is, there a Christians who talk a lot about following Jesus, making the sacrifices, and achieving great things for Him. Then, there are Christians who actually get those things done. It is those who can finish, who can get past the stage of ideas, who are most blessed in life.
So if we want to be blessed in life we need to… Finish with PERSEVERANCE.
Two keys to perseverance are: 1. Patience 2. Planning