Thirty-Some Days in James 1, Day 31: Blessed

When we hear (or read) God’s Word but don’t obey it, we’re deceiving ourselves. We may know a lot, we may study our Bibles regularly, but we’re lying to ourselves if we think we’re excused from obeying the words of the Bible. We’re not those described in the parable of the sower who “in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

Instead we’re like someone who looks in the mirror, sees faults that need to be addressed, and then goes on his way, completely forgetting those flaws. The Holy Spirit convicts him, the Word pierces his heart, he is temporarily moved to change, but then quickly forgets.

Assignment: Pray for the grace to persevere and respond to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit as you study. Pray for opportunities to act on what you know.

  • Then turn to your marking copy of James 1 and have your colored pencils ready. We’re going to draw a self-portrait today. ūüôā
  • Read all of James 1. Test your memory of verses you’ve chosen to memorize. Think about what you have been learning as you’ve studied. Where do we get the wisdom we need to see trials as blessings? How should we respond to the word God has planted in our souls? What should we do when we’ve heard the word?
  • After reading the entire chapter, return to verse 25. Notice the first word,¬†but.¬†James is about to show us the contrast to the person who looks into a mirror and then leaves, forgetting what he looked like.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the main words of this verse. We’ll move fairly quickly through quite a few words.

  • Open the interlinear for verse 25 in¬†Blue Letter Bible,¬†and click on¬†whoso looketh.¬†This word means more than just looking.
  • Take notes on the information in “Outline of Biblical Usage.”
  • Then read the verses in “Concordance Results Using KJV.” Imagine how carefully both Peter and Mary must have examined the grave when they could no longer find the dead body of Jesus! Do we look into the Word with that same kind of thoroughness and wonder?
  • Now look at¬†the perfect.¬†This word should look familiar. James has used it two other times in this first chapter of his letter. You can easily see that by looking at the verses under “Concordance Results Using KJV.” James speaks of letting “patience have her perfect work” so that we can be¬†perfect and entire, wanting nothing.¬†He also speaks of God’s good and perfect gifts.
  • Skim the other verses in this section of the lexicon, taking notes on verses you find particularly relevant. How would you summarize the word?
  • Also reread the definitions of this word under “Outline of Biblical Usage.”
  • Next click on¬†of liberty.¬†Again, read under “Outline of Biblical Usage” and “Concordance Results Using KJV.” What kind of liberty is being spoken of in these verses?
  • Click next on¬†continueth.¬†This is an interesting word when we relate it to another word we have studied in James 1. In verse 12, we found the word¬†hypomeno¬†which means¬†to stay under.¬†James says that the man who¬†stays under¬†or¬†endures¬†temptation will be blessed.

Now in verse 25, we find that the one who remains beside or continues always near the word, not forgetting it, but instead doing what it says, will be blessed.

  • Next click on¬†a forgetful.¬†The initial information under this word doesn’t add a great deal to our understanding, but if we click on its¬†root word, we’ll find some interesting insights. We’re not talking about someone with a bad memory, but about someone who no longer cares.
  • Can you take all you have learned during your study today and rewrite verse 25 in your own words? If you get stuck on a particular word, go to the interlinear for help.
  • Before you finish for the day, draw a very simple, not detailed portrait of yourself on the page over verses 21-25 or more. (Don’t panic. ūüôā Simply draw an oval, put the right color of hair on it. Add eyes, a curvy line for the nose and another curved line for the mouth.) Draw lightly so you can still read the text through the drawing.

The word is where we need to look for an accurate picture of ourselves, and where we will find the perfect law that sets us free to love and obey God.

For your children:

  • Read James 1:22-25 and review what the verses mean.
  • Then review your memorization of verse 22.
  • Then play a little game to emphasize the need to listen and then do. Gather your children together.
  • Choose one child and verbally list three different tasks you want him to complete. They can be silly or serious, useful or ridiculous. List all three all at once.
  • After you have given your three-fold instructions, see if the child can remember and complete all three tasks without forgetting any of them.
  • If he succeeds, let him give three tasks to another person of his choice to complete. (If he doesn’t succeed, you choose the next person and give them the next three tasks.)
  • If three tasks are easily remembered, make the list longer and see how everyone does!

 

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  1. It seems like James was written fairly early, certainly before the gospels had been written or most of the letters… Looking into the perfect law of liberty would have been more of a challenge, seeing Christ in the “parables” of the Old Testament… We are privileged to have what is complete and perfect to guide us now.

  2. Recently, I have started doing neurofeedback. For the sake of not typing a book, I am going to suggest you look it up to know what it is in more detail. For simple terms, its a computer program, using electroids hooked up to your brain, it reads your brain waves, and the computer mirrors back what that part of your brain should look like. So, if you have ADD, the computer will mirror what a non ADD brain looks like and the brain will start to adjust to mirror it. As I have been doing this, its amazed me how simple it was. I show up for an hour, I am entertained by a screen saver, or game, and I go home feeling great. I have to do nothing to change my brain, it starts to do it on its own. I can see the differences. I thought about this, why the brain mirrors. I thought about how when I look at my face I don’t work to remember what I look like, it just happens. I wonder if that is what James alludes to in this section. Reading Gods word changes you, to think it doesn’t is like forgetting what you look like. You don’t have to work to change, once your soul sees the truth it begins to allign with the truth.

    Now, another interesting this is you can so neurofeedback and try to fight it. It can take much longer to change, but even then, it still affects you. In the same way, I have looked in a mirror and completely missed something on my face, and have needed another person to point it out. So, I think it is possible to read Gods word, and fight the change, but I don’t think allowing Gods word to change your soul takes so much hardship and work. I think if you are open to the truth, and you read it, you will adjust to it, without even knowing it.

  3. I am not familiar with neurofeedback, but I am familiar with God’s Word, Sarah, and although His Word does not return void, but accomplishes what it sets out to do, it also calls on us to submit to it, put to death our old sinful habits, and work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This doesn’t mean we earn our salvation, but it does mean we have a part to play in our growth and sanctification. We’re not passive recipients. We don’t just sit back and have it all happen to us. We’re engaged in battle. We face trials that test our faith and require us to really act on what we say we believe. We are constantly being asked to choose between trusting God and trusting ourselves.

    I strongly disagree with your last statement. Are you studying James with us? What you are saying is in direct contradiction with what we’ve been reading and studying all month. I would ask you to support your thoughts with Scripture.

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