James 5 seems to jump all over the place – here are some highlights from Thursday night:
“You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.” James 5:5
That verse could nail us to a wall. Pleasure and luxury might as well be inscribed as basic human rights in the U.S. Constitution. We act as though our purpose is to trade in these commodities.
When James addresses the ‘rich people’ in chapter five, he’s addressing members of the church, believers who have the means to do something purposeful if their hearts were not flirting with the world.
‘Rich’ is not just about money—we’ve been richly given gifts and opportunities, as well. When we’re comfortable, we can easily begin to believe that the vision belongs to us. You were created for God’s purpose, and it is not your to own. When things are good, we must consciously and continually praise God to keep our hearts right.
“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful….The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 11 and 16
In contrast, when we’re in the waiting period or when we’re being tried, we must remember that the Word promises we are blessed when we endure. We must remember the power of prayer and perseverance.
James finishes up his letter by reminding us what our ultimate purpose is: To lead others to God. All other things we do should be evaluated by that standard.
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” James 19-20
Your vision is not about you – it’s about turning others to God, whether they’ve known Him before or whether they encounter Him for the first time.