Religion that God Accepts is this... Choosing God's Way All The Time

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 1:45pm

Religion that God Accepts is this…Chooses God’s way all the time.

Today we studied Chapter 4 with Rev Sadekie.  James has more strong words and more challenges for us as we seek to practice what he describes as Religion That God Accepts.

Today’s challenge is the struggle of the religious to choose between being friends with the world and following God’s ways.  James suggests that being friends of the world leads to one becoming an enemy of God.  Everyday we must choose between God’s way and the way of the world.  And there is always a battle between the two. 

To choose to follow God’s way everyday requires two things.  It requires wisdom to resist temptation and it requires us to practice humility. 

The first temptation of Chapter 4 is envy, to desire what we do not have to the point of being willing to destroy another for it.  The extreme of envy is anger and murder, the smaller version is jealousy. 

The second temptation is coveting.  To want something that you cannot get, and want it to the point that you are willing to quarrel or fight over it.  Scripture uses the wanting of another’s wife to describe coveting.

The third temptation is the temptation to pray with the wrong motives.  To pray for something not out of need, but out of pride or greed.  A prayer for something that we envy or covet.

The fourth temptation is slander.  It is so easy when we do not like someone or when we envy someone to say something negative.  It is easy for us to embellish a lie, or to repeat negative comments.

James’ fifth temptation is judgement.  How easily we judge people and decide who they are by the way they look, or how they talk, or what they drive.  We judge other people intentions, or we judge them by their past.  You always……     You never……      James tells us that we should not judge, for we ourselves are not perfect.

The last temptation James warns us about is not doing the right thing when you KNOW it is the right thing to do.  Even though we have a responsibility to give to the kingdom of God, we also have the responsibility to pay taxes.  Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, give unto God what is God’s.

James encourages us to learn and recognize temptations, to change by having a slice of humble pie.  By practicing humility, we step back and not forward, we lay difference to someone else, we put another ahead of us.  This is counter to envy, coveting, and greed.  It takes humility not to judge others, to give people the benefit of the doubt.  It takes humility to be satisfied with what we have.  It takes humility to recognize your closeness to God or lack thereof. 

It takes true humility to recognize that while we must plan for the future, we must also be mindful that we have very little control over it.  From that perspective, we should plan, seeking after the Lord’s will to be done and hoping that we are a part of that will going forward. 

God’s way is the way of humility, God’s is the way of peace.  If we are able to integrate these principles into our lives, not only will we draw closer to God, but God will draw closer to us.