Monday

James 3:13-18 Monday 18 November 2013


Background

The letter from James is filled with warnings about how many ofits readers are getting carried away in their existence, and haveforgotten what their life might be supposed to look like. ForJames, the indicator of a good life well lived is what that lifelooks like to other people. It's a common accusation of the Churchor Christians that we act hypocritically. Jesus himself was full ofdisdain for those whom he saw being hypocrites. The problem forthose being addressed by James, and for us, is that if at times weshow wisdom and understanding, it looks much worse to others whenwe then continue to get it wrong. We know that we are completelyfallible and our decision to follow Jesus doesn't get rid of our'self-destruct' button, but we are called to see the consequencesof our actions, which should limit the envy, selfish ambition andfalseness which James points to as negatives.

Aristotle suggested that a person should not need to makeindividual decisions about the 'most ethical option', because theyshould already have made the decision about 'what kind of personthey are'. According to Aristotle, the individual's actions wouldthen follow naturally. James is clearly frustrated that people whounderstood what kind of people they were supposed to be, were thenignoring what their life should be like. James' reminder of whichbehaviours are beneficial and which are damaging are still vital toremember today. There is no harm in auditing our own actions andbehaviors, and the good news of Jesus gives us an importantyardstick against which to compare our existence.


To Ponder

  • In what ways to do we have a 'good life'?
  • What part(s) of your life could benefit from more wisdom andunderstanding?
  • In what ways can we tap into the 'wisdom from above'?
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