As a Scotsman and an American (I have two passports), the “Freedom!” word is especially dear to me. I, like most of the human race, do not like to be told what I may or may not do. I bristle at any perceived or actual threat to my personal freedom or autonomy. For example, the last time I was home in Scotland, the ubiquitous speed-cameras on side-roads, and especially interstates, really got under my skin. I was offended, indignant, and outraged. Our right to choose, to decide for ourselves, is the most important thing in the world, right?
In the book of James, when God speaks about the “the perfect law, the law of liberty,” he’s not actually referring to the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution. He’s speaking about the Bible! Yes, he’s referring to the commandments of Scripture! How can they be “the law of liberty”?
James is a book about maturity. It’s what we call “Wisdom literature.” It’s a book about the battle for your authenticity. The war that rages in you and around you. This week, as we continue to consider trials, suffering, and temptations, we turn to James 1:19-27. Here James uses an interesting phrase that is variously translated as “rampant wickedness,” “the superfluity of naughtiness,” or “the overflowing of wickedness.” There is just so much sin and evil around us and in us. Battling sin is like playing whack-a-mole. It’s relentless.
How do we navigate the trials of life? How do we persevere in the war against sin? How do we become more beautiful, mature, authentic, and strong? Well, James tell us it doesn’t come from getting our way, living our lives the way we want to, or even just by “believing the gospel.” Take some time to reflect on James 1:19-27. Try as hard as you can to not (dis)qualify James 1:19-27 with other passages of Scripture. As you read, ask yourself, “What rules me? What is my authority?”
I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. If you are going to be out of town over Columbus Day Weekend, I do hope you have the opportunity to worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ wherever you may be.
Yours in Christ’s love,