James begins to look at the input and output of our religion. He reinforces the idea that whatever a person allows to rule inside of them will naturally flow through them. There is a natual expression of the change in our identity that occurs with Jesus Christ. Whlie James isn’t claiming that it is works that save us, he does state plainly that it is the works that show our faith, for good or bad. Whatever we allow in to shape our identity will be the thing that is expressed through what we do. Furthermore, this is not a passive process but an intentional shaping and molding as we allow the word of God to become implanted deep into our spiritual DNA.
Every person seeking to follow Christ will most assuredly encounter tempation along the way. This is an unavoidable fact that we must be willing to deal with. It is during these times of temptation that what we believe about God and about His salvation becomes clear. We quickly see what the things we turn to are and who we blame for our situation. But James makes it clear, that being able to stand up in the face of temptation is a valiant expression of our faith; one that leads to eternal glory. Furthermore, God is there every step of the way through our times of temptation to see us through to the other side.
Jesus came to free mankind from their masochistic desires and tendencies. Where the people of Nazareth sought fame and favor, the mission of Christ is to bring people to repentance and to die to themselves in order that they might live. Thus, the people of Nazareth turned on Jesus swiftly, having been spurned by His clarity of mission.
There are very few times scripturally where the devil appeared face to face with man. The Gospel of Luke is one of those times. This was the standoff between good and evil that would set the tone for the Christ’s mission in the world. The temptation was real in that the devil would be able to offer the things he was offering, but Jesus had no intention of caving in to the demands of the devil. Whatever authority the devil had to do anything, Jesus would strip is away piece by piece until there is nothing left. Jesus did not come in self aggrandizement or to enslave himself for the sake of becoming like mankind. Christ came as a servant to reign victorious and overthrow the forces of evil that have tempted you and I.
So, here I sit. It is 2:30am and my mind is racing. Not in a bad way either. Today has been marked, all day, by merely conversations about God. Conversations of where faith and life violently collide. And in the midst of that, one of the most honest conversations took place where two people could be vulnerable about the struggles without fear of judgment or condemnation. We talked about honest issues and pains of struggles past and present but we did so knowing that each one cared deeply for one another. Fraternitas. The deep love of two brothers as family. In …