James is a very practical, street-level book. By that I mean it gets down on our level, the place where we walk and talk and live every day. The book of James is all about our faith’s practical application. All the talk of spirituality in all the other books of the New Testament is of course necessary, but the book of James gets right in your face and applies that spiritual stuff to the truly gritty every day life.
Interesting too that the author of this book was the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of all the authors of the Bible, James knew Jesus the best and the longest. He saw the Christ every day – grew up with Him – lived his whole childhood right there in the same house just like you grew up with your siblings. James saw the everyday life of Jesus, he saw Jesus walking that talk from the time they were both children. And when it came time, that prepared James for being the one who would write the book that tells us how to walk that walk.
Here are some things that I was thinking of in regards to really living each day in faith:
Watch what I say…
How do I talk in everyday conversation? Do I name drop – making sure everyone around me knows how close I am to important people? Hey, people in the church do this too – making sure everyone knows what great friends we are with the pastor’s wife, or the deaconesses, or the elder or pastor. It might be true, but do we need to tell everyone?
Do I say the witty remark, the sarcastic comment, even when I know it could hurt the other person? We do this too, claiming the other person just shouldn’t be so sensitive, or they laughed, so it must be ok. Not true. Even when someone’s feelings are hurt they may laugh to try to hide it. Be aware of others.
Watch what I see…
Do I look for the bad in others, or the good? Do I assume the worst? Am I willing to think good about those around me?
Do I notice the needs of others? Do I see when someone is hurting, or when someone has a need? Do I see the pain in the eyes of those I come in contact with throughout my day? Do I consider the people around me?
Watch what I hear…
Do I listen to the negativity of the world? Do I stop and let that negativity take hold in my own heart? Do I combat it with something right from God, or do I let it take root?
Do I hear what’s really behind what other people are saying? Am I really listening to those talking to me? Am I letting their words take hold, and listening with real understanding, or am I just waiting for them to stop talking so I can say more?
Hear the hearts of those around me.