James 1:1-8 – Double-mindedness

I heard the story of a guy who got two job offers from different companies – both would be located in the same building, but on different floors. So he decided to take both of them. He’d get in early and start the first job around 7am, and then go upstairs and clock in at his second job around 9. He would then spend his day travelling between floors every hour or so. If people came and found him away from his desk, they just assumed he was in a meeting. He’d then finish at his first job early to work back late at the second. For 6 months he collected two paycheques before he was found out – and only then because someone resigned from one company, got a job with the other company – and recognised him. He was then sacked from both of them.

The letter of James, which we’re going to be studying over the next few weeks, warns Christian against trying to do this – against trying to work for two masters. It warns us against trying to live for God and for ourselves – or for everyone else’s expectations – trying to fool God that we’re working for him full-time, when every chance we get we’re sneaking off to our second job. Except God isn’t fooled. And sooner or later, we find it impossible to keep up the double life.  Continue reading

James 1:9-11

This week we’re looking at the letter of James, which is all about being double-minded: trying to be friends with God and friends with the world. (See yesterday’s post if you missed the intro to the series. One of the reasons we’re doing James over the summer break is because each section is relatively independent – you can dip in and out while you’re in holiday mode, without feeling like you’re getting behind. But you do need to read the series intro first. And a big “hi” to northern hemisphere readers who are freezing cold and back at work. We’re all reading this at the beach.)

Continue reading

James 1:12-18

This week we’re looking at the letter of James, which is all about the temptation to be double-minded: trying to be friends with God and friends with the world. (See Monday’s post if you missed the intro to the series, as it’s foundational for all of the others.) Today we look at James 1:12-18.

Back in the opening verses of the letter, James said that “the testing of your faith” (the temptation to be double-minded) produces perseverance. Here (sounding a bit like his brother in The Sermon on the Mount) he describes the person who perseveres when their faith is so tested as “blessed.”

1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Continue reading

James 1:19-27

This week we’re looking at the letter of James, which is all about the temptation to be double-minded: trying to be friends with God and friends with the world. (See Monday’s post if you missed the intro to the series, as it’s foundational for all of the others.) Today we look at James 1:19-27.

This passage is a bit like the first minute of a “World’s Craziest Grainy Security-Camera Footage” type of TV show. Where they flick through all of the coolest bits (explosions, crashes, and armed robberies) to get you to watch the rest of the show. And over the next hour you realise they didn’t have much more worthwhile footage than the bits you saw in the first minute.

James 1:19-27 is a bit like that, as we get a quick preview of the upcoming highlights – snapshots to whet your appetite. But don’t worry, James has got far more substance to the rest of his epistle. Let’s begin:

Continue reading