We have noted as we have studied some of Paul's letters that he is prone to using eloquent and erudite phrases to describe God's love and His Almighty power, normally at the beginning and towards the end of his missives. However, James rarely reaches for the heights when he writes this letter to the 'twelve tribes'. We will be studying John's letters in a few weeks and the opening couple of verses which we are looking at today would be more recognisable with his work. For James generally, being a Christian is hard work involving one hundred percent commitment and a complete focus on the goal which lies ahead. Yet here he speaks of everything which is good comes from Father God. What he is stating is that we cannot claim that something which is not good has been given to us by God. Bringing that thought into modern life, we cannot say that if we are married, the love we have for someone else has been given by God. God is love, absolutely, but we cannot turn that around and therefore state that love is God! Anyway, I must again emphasise that love meant very different things than it does today. It was used as a description of action. Just as James decrees later in this letter that you have to demonstrate your faith by your actions, so the people of the New Testament would have determined that someone loved by what they did, rather than what they felt. How do you show that you love God as He has demonstrated His love for you through His actions? You obey Him! That means you do things within the church and outside of it. The mature Christian who feels no obligation to get involved in the works of God's Kingdom is going nowhere fast! James made it clear in verses 19 and 20 that Christians grow and develop through social interaction with other believers and it is in that environment that they learn to control their temper and to listen rather than speak. If you have had a conversation with another believer and you come away with no idea what they have said, then something needs to change!
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