that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
The temple will be rebuilt.
"Why can't we just get along?" someone asked.
Well, why can't we?
James seems to be telling me that I'm not going to be able to get along with anybody as long as I'm worried about my own self too much.
Give thought to what God wants.
Is there any hope for me?
James says "Of course. Just give up what the devil wants and start wanting what God wants."
Can it be as simple as James makes it out to be: Resist the devil and he's beaten. Draw near to God and God's with you.
James writes of the importance of wisdom and also of the divergent outcomes of being wise and being unwise. He says that it's pretty obvious if somebody is wise. If you're envious or selfishly ambitious, you're not.
Moreover, your envy and selfishness harms everybody. (I'm wondering if envious and selfish people worry about this.)
How God wants us to be, according to James, is peaceful, merciful, impartial, and not hypocritical. Perhaps, if I would try to attain and act out those characteristics, then I wouldn't be envious or selfish. Or, if I weren't so envious and selfish, then I would find it easier to practice peace, mercy, and impartiality, rather than hypocrisy.
When you are aware of bad things happening in the congregation, what is your responsibility? Please note that I'm not talking about the many times that we don't agree with someone or the times when we don't get our way.
I often used to begin the worship service by quoting the first part of 24, "This is the day the Lord has made," and the congregation would immediately respond, "let us rejoice and be glad in it."
The "us" is important. Everyone in that congregation had known some kind of pain or rejection. Yet, they could rejoice.
We wouldn't need victory if we didn't already know rejection, but our lives have both. We don't have to pretend that our lives haven't had and don't have grave difficulties. But, we can remember and be thankful what the Lord has done and continues to do for us. And, even in that rejoicing over what had been overcome, we still need the strength and support that God gives us. This is the day. Every day is this day.
A ruler who oppresses the poor
is a beating rain that leaves no food.
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
but those who keep the law struggle against them.
Prayer for Today: O Lord our God, forgive us for those times that we have been envious or selfish or hypocritical. Guide us into ways of peace, into ways of accepting others, into ways of helping people in difficulty. Amen.