One of my dogs has anxiety. We noticed it a couple years ago when our neighbors started this thing where they shoot off fireworks for any and all the holidays, including ones I have no clue even existed (nope not bitter at all). She hears this loud boom way off in the distance, and panics. I can imagine her thinking, “oh no, that noise again. It must means scary things are headed my way!” She immediately runs to one of us, and tries to hide under us. She wants to bury her head, and pretend like she can’t hear anything. However, nothing bad has ever happened. The noises stop eventually, and the world continues as she knows it. Yet, every time it happens, she forgets this.
We are the same. We tend to panic every time we hit a bump in the road, and forget that God is in control. We try to reason why it’s happening, or we try to change the circumstance in our own power (which never works by the way…believe me I’ve tried…)
In James, people are dealing with the same thing. James tells them:
“22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tonguesdeceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:22-27)
He tells us a couple things here:
- We have to have the Word in our hearts and minds
- We don’t want to walk around every day forgetting who made us and is in us
- We have to continually remember the freedom that we have in Christ and because of Him
- We can watch our tongues and words better if we are remembering this freedom
- We are called to look after the orphans and widows as well as watching how we are being influenced by the world
Today, I would encourage you to recall the last time you felt panicked. What was your response? If it’s not what you think it should have been after reading these verses, take some time to think through why that might be. If needed, confess to Him, and repent. Take time to praise Him for what He has done for us, and what His Word means to you.
Want to go deeper? Have more time?
- Where have you struggled with your tongue this week? Have you gossiped? Did you say something mean to someone you loved? Journal about that, and pray for God to help you in those struggles, and to remind you of His Grace that only He can give.
- How are you following the call to look after the orphans and widows? How can you apply that verse to your life right now?
- Memorize a verse this week. Find one that speaks to your heart right now.