Tag Archives: Loving your neighbor

Starting the week off right…

8 Jul

…by finishing James 2!!!

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or “sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has God not chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warm and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by his works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works and faith was completed by his works, and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Jen

Loving ______ as yourself

20 Jun

Monday night’s post from James 2 presented us with a reminder about loving our neighbors as ourselves. And I’ve come to realize how often young people, in our naiveté and self-centeredness, neglect this responsibility and think we know better than our parents. To put it bluntly, that sometimes results in treating them like crap.

But if you really love your neighbors, that means you love your closest neighbors. And who might that be? Well, whoever you live with–most likely your parents, siblings, children or spouse.

For me, “loving my neighbor as myself” means applying this command to the way I treat my parents. At 21 and a college grad with a full-time job, it can be so easy for me to roll my eyes during a disagreement with them and say, “Whatever mom and dad, I’m an adult.”

But…

That’s not what Jesus would do. That’s not what the Word tells me to do.

I live with my parents. They are my closest neighbors. (And they give me a rent-free roof over my head as I dig myself out of student loan debt for the next year or so!)

And, I am to love them. And love them like I love myself. No questions asked. And no blowing them off when I’m mad. Cause that’s not love.

The truth is, my family should come first in my life, after God. No guy, no job, no hobby will take the place of them. I mean yes, one day I hope to be married. But until then, my parents are the most important.

And, learning to love my parents in this authentic way is the perfect preparation for marriage. If I want to be married someday, I’ve gotta learn how to love someone I live with, which includes accepting their faults, flaws, failures, annoying habits, etc. Honestly, if I allow myself to be under the impression that my future spouse is going to be perfect and a joy to live with my whole life…ha! I’m in for a reality check. (Can I get a married person to back me up here?!) Long story short, if I think I can disregard the way I treat my parents now, I will be ill-prepared for marriage later on.

So…I’m gonna do it. I’m going to love
my parents as I love myself.

What neighbor of yours are you neglecting to love today? I encourage you to set it right. It’s worth it.

Jen

Don’t conform, and don’t be conformed

11 Apr

The seriousness of the topic of purity makes my heart ache for people out there who don’t know any better. Who haven’t been taught any better. Or, who have conformed to the world and told themselves, “it’s okay.”

A few weeks ago I posted about purity and about how it is possible. I wanted to share my view about how we shouldn’t use the word “unrealistic” in place of “difficult.” They have two completely different meanings. The way I see it, if the Word calls us to it, we can do it.

Last Thursday during the women’s bible study at my church, we watched session six of Beth Moore’s study on James. I forget what scripture verse we were on, or what fill-in-the-blank we were on, but  I remember her asking us something a little like this: “Do you not take scripture seriously?” It was a reality check for sure.

This makes me think of my generation and the culture around me. I do not claim to be perfect and am no judge of others. No Christian is perfect, myself included. But I’ve watched culture collide with Christianity and the solution to the equation is often a mixture of twisted-up, distorted views on things that are not a matter of opinion. 

You see, I try my best to understand the Word, and I don’t know everything about it. Every day is a journey and a hunger for more. If I’m unsure of something’s meaning, I do my research or ask an older, wiser believer for help.

And then there are times when I read verses like Romans 12:1-2, and I can’t help but think to myself, “This is so clear. This is not up for debate. This is what I’m called to do. I should take this seriously.”

Here’s that portion of scripture I mentioned, in ESV:

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

I truly believe this scripture is our weapon against the battle of a transforming, ever-changing culture. Although the moral standards of the world continue to decay with each passing day, Romans 12 tells me that I must not be conformed to this world. That means not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow, and not when I’m 54 years old. Not ever.

Crossway’s ESV Study Bible’s commentary on Romans 12:1-2 includes the following:

The present evil age still threatens those who belong to Christ, so they must resist its pressure. Their lives are changed as their minds are made new, so that they are able to “discern” God’s will. “By testing you may discern” translates to Greek “dokimazo,” which often has the sense of finding out the worth of something by putting it to use or testing it in actual practice.

Let me encourage you today: don’t conform to the world (the NIV translation phrases it as an offensive, don’t-conform-on-purpose action) and do not be conformed (the ESV, NASB and KJV translations phrase it as a defensive, don’t-let-anyone-conform-you action).

It will be hard and we will be tested, but that’s how we’ll find the worth of leaving everything behind that is worldly and following Christ. Whether you’re struggling today with staying pure, fighting an addiction, or loving your neighbor, may you not be conformed to the pattern of our world. May you put off your old self and put on righteousness (Ephesians 4:21-24). It is worth it!

Jen