Message Series // Scattered – Part 5, Actions (James 1:19-27)
Message Date // October 11, 2020 (Scotty Priest)
During this season of life in 2020, most of us can use the word “scattered” to describe how we feel. Schedules have been scattered, along with finances, jobs, emotions, living situations, and more. We can feel disorganized, alone, and messy. As we lean into this time of looking through the biblical letter of James, we will know that we aren’t alone in feeling scattered. James, the half-brother of Jesus and pastor of the Jerusalem church in this time, is writing to all the Christians that have been scattered out from Jerusalem because of persecution. He writes with a heart to remind them, in the midst of all the unknowns, to live out their faith in a real and practical way. These same words, written almost 2,000 years ago, can also help ground us today as we seek to live out the ways of Jesus in the midst of feeling scattered.
”Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22
Read James 1:19-27. Spend some time focusing on verse 22. We have to be careful of the “Know More” myth, which states that, “If I know more, I’ll do better.” Now, knowledge is important, but keeping it only at the level of “knowing” and not “doing” is the problem. Why is it easy for us to keep obedience only to level of knowledge? If James is saying that it’s what we do with the knowledge that makes the difference, what’s the biggest barrier to making that happen?
Read James 1:23-25. James uses an illustration to help drive home his point…that knowledge without action is like looking in the mirror and then forgetting what you look like once you turn away. This probably happens more than we like to admit when it comes to reading the Bible…but the tough thing is that we have to let the truth of God’s word confront us. (Hebrews 4:12-13) The mark of a heart changed by God is that I like God telling me how to live. Do you personally like God telling you how to live? Why or why not?
Read James 1:26-27 and James 2:14-17. Unapplied truth is like unapplied paint. Just like paint is not meant to stay in a paint can, so our knowledge of how God wants us to live should not just stay in our minds. And you don’t get better at something just by reading it…you have to put it into practice. James, in these verses, helps gives some specific examples on what it looks like to apply God’s word in our lives.. What are those examples? What are a few examples of how that could look in our culture today?
Jewish rabbis used to say…”You learn the law with your feet more than your ears.” Some simple next steps you can take to put faith into action is to (1) Get a paper Bible to read, (2) Pick a time, place, and Bible reading plan
(www.youversion.com), and (3) Ask God every morning to show you one thing to DO that day. Begin praying that prayer and act on the opportunities God presents before you each day.