Please read James 1:17-27 and Psalm 15


James gets right down to it. He slices through our defensiveness, clears a path and makes his point like a finely sharpened ax in fresh wood.

“In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth…”

This is why the truth has the power to set us free and to unravel the paralyzing complexities before us.

Then James lights up his propane torch of words and says“…let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.”

There is an art to listening and to hesitating, in thoughtful reflection, before answering. I have known a few people who were practiced at this and, as a result, were considered kind and wise.

Everyone has something to say and wants to be heard. Only one can effectively communicate at a time.

Anger often comes from not taking the time to listen to what is being said and what is meant, which goes unsaid.

Anger is not wrong, but is a last resort and usually does not lead to “God’s righteousness.”

Right here in this passage, James gets down to his claim to New Testament fame, when he tells us “But be doers of the word and not merely hearers…”

He will go on to say in chapter 2, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?” 

“Can faith save you?”

How could such a question ever be found in the New Testament?

Paul writes in Ephesians, “For grace you have been saved by faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works.” 

Well, yes, we are saved by the grace of God.

But then, I dare say, most of us want to see some results. Live the Word. Show me your faith. Act like you know and believe something. Do not treat the word of God lightly as if it is of no consequence.

Free grace and works are not uncomplimentary. The free grace unbinds our chains and once unbounded, we are released to do all the good that we have been freed to do.

Rejoice! Praise God! Get to work.

Moving to the deeper places,