James 4:13-5:11 – Rich and Poor (part one)

This week we’re continuing in 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. Over the next two days we look at James 4:13-5:11.

Life is short, is it not? What’s more, we don’t even know exactly how short ours is going to be. Statistically, I’m around the halfway mark. But it could end tomorrow, if there’s a bus out there with my name on it. Or a chicken bone, or an exploding backyard crystal meth lab (that’s near where I live).As it says in Ecclesiastes: life is a vapour. A mist. We’re here one minute, and gone the next. Life is short, and its end is unpredictable.

Continue reading

James 3:13-4:10 – A Cure for Envy (part two)

This week we’re continuing in 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. This is the second part of our look at James 3:13-4:10.

The cure for envy (4:7-10)

So far, James has told us about two sets of values – two types of wisdom. There’s the world’s wisdom, which is self-centred and promotes envy and selfish ambition; and there’s God’s wisdom, which is other-centred and promotes peace and servanthood.

The problem is that many Christians can be double-minded: we try to be friends with both God and the world, and so experience competing values. We end up being taken in by the world’s lie that says put yourself first. And this produces in us the same envy and selfish ambition that’s found in the rest of the world. And God’s not happy.

Continue reading

James 3:13-4:10 – A Cure for Envy (part one)

This week we’re continuing in 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. Over the next two days we look at James 3:13-4:10.

Alain de Botton, in his book Status Anxiety, argues that our happiness and satisfaction with our life aren’t related to what we have. Instead, he says, our happiness and satisfaction are usually dependent on what we have when compared with everyone else!

Transport me into the majority world and I’ll instantly feel like a millionaire; take me to a cocktail party in the eastern suburbs of Sydney (American readers: in the Hamptons) and I’ll feel like a pauper. Although my actual wealth hasn’t changed, my perception of my wealth has. My satisfaction, then, has become dependent on the relative wealth of those around me.

Continue reading