The Epistle of James - Godly Values
Part 7 - Don't be deceived
20th April 2018
Don’t be deceived, dear rich brother. You may think you're rich because you're clever. Well, God gave you the brains. You may think you're rich because you're hard-working. God gave you the energy, and He gave you the opportunities. He gave you the right conversations with the right people at the right time. he caused your investments to grow. God gives us the ability to prosper.
Don’t be deceived, dear talented brother. Don't boast about what God has given you. If you have a wonderful singing voice, it's a gift from God. If you're a brilliant piano player, or mathematician, or doctor, it's a gift from God. Everything good - every good gift - comes down from Father. Why are we boasting?
Don’t be deceived, dear insecure brother. Your security is not in how clever you are, or how much money you have, or what you've achieved. It's not in your position, or how many friends you've got (certainly not in how many Facebook friends you've got). It's this: Jesus loves you.
There's only one real source of security in this world. It's the security of knowing that God loves you and God will provide for your future. There's nothing to boast about, except this: God chose you. And that's enough, isn't it?
How much conflict and stress would we avoid if we knew that all that matters is that fact that Jesus loves me, and Jesus loves you?
God doesn't change like shifting shadows. He doesn't love you today and fail you tomorrow. He doesn't turn His back, look after somebody else, and forget about you. He puts you through trials, but they're God-given trials. May He grant you faith to believe that. We wouldn't chose these trials for ourselves, but God knows what He's doing.
God's love never changes. God's infinite ability to heal and to provide never changes. God is with every Christian, every moment of every day.
God chose to give us birth. We were born again, we were saved by God-given faith in the blood of Jesus. We're His for ever and ever. That's what matters.
And every trial is only until we die, at worst.
We can read in Leviticus about the feast of firstfruits. There were two harvests in Israel - the spring harvest and the autumn harvest. On the first day of the spring harvest, the Israelites were commanded to take a sheaf of what they'd harvested, and give it to the priest to be offered to the Lord. They were also told not to eat any bread or newly roasted grain until they'd made this offering to God. So a farmer would harvest his crops, and present the best of it to God first. It was holy to God.
And you are the firstfruits of all creation. You are holy to God. This matters more than what car you drive, or what house you live in, or what position you occupy, or how many friends you have. You and I are a holy offering to God.
When they offered the firstfruits sacrifice to God, they were commanded to do so together with a perfect lamb. We are offered to God with Jesus, our sacrificial lamb.
This is who you are. The letters after my name don't matter. The cash in my bank account doesn't matter, although I'm glad it's there. What matters is: you and I, dear fellow Christian, are holy to God.
So let's not boast. Let's not sin, and let's not feel too bad about ourselves, because God chose you to be His for all eternity.
He chose you because He wants you.