Walking in Faith

Do you ever wonder about the people the writers in the Bible were addressing? Especially the New Testament letter writers?

One of my small groups is reading James. A marvelous little letter. But I started thinking–just what was that gathering of people like that caused James to write this letter to them?

His teaching included:

  • treating poor people just like you’d treat rich people
  • act out your faith, don’t just sit back and say you believe
  • watch what you say
  • be careful not to judge people as to their salvation
  • pray powerfully expecting results
  • if you’re rich, don’t hold it over other people

Picture this gathering of people. When they got together, they separated themselves among cultural lines just as if they were out in society. When things got tough, they whined. They were critical of each other, often saying mean things.

How many of these traits do we exhibit?

I remember long ago talking with a woman about coming to my church. She said, “I just wouldn’t fit in there.” What a powerful condemnation. She didn’t think our little Baptist church filled with middle class business people and teachers would accept a working person.

Even today, I can look across the 20 or more protestant churches in our town of 17,000 and see how often they are divided among income, cultural or racial lines. There is only one Catholic church in town, but there are several rural ones close by if people want to stay in the faith (protestants don’t seem to care about denomination very much any more, they just hop from church to church) and attend with people they feel comfortable with.

Wherever you are, do you try to live out some of these words of James?

  • make everyone feel equally welcome
  • speak kindly in the Spirit
  • perform acts of service in humility
  • pray powerfully with great expectation

I need reminding at times. Bet we all do.

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