November 20, 2014

James 1:25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

I quote verse 22 with considerable frequency, but this verse fleshes that out and gives more understanding in a positive way. The implication from this verse is that looking into the Word/Law is a frequent, regular thing. That’s why the NIV says “continues to do this,” where the Greek is more, “doesn’t depart from it.” Simply reading the Bible without thinking about it doesn’t do a whole lot of good. There are places in the world where a printed Bible is very hard to come by, or even illegal, but a person in such a country can think over what they have heard, allowing it to sink into them. The Japanese translation of this verse says that such a person will actually do things, and the NIV and the Japanese agree that in the doing, such a person will be blessed. Many people want the blessings of God, but you don’t get them to their full extent by considering the Bible to be a coffee table decoration or shelf filler, or even a Sunday accessory. I keep coming back to the truth that the Bible is the most practical book in the world, because it applies to all mankind over every category: gender, race, age, social position, economic status, or whatever. It is only when we grasp that and choose to apply the Word to our daily lives that we discover its true riches and step into the flow of God’s grace.

Yesterday I had the great joy of hearing that a man to whom I’ve ministered for several years has said that he wants a Christian funeral, indicating that he has chosen to follow Christ. That was followed by a Chinese woman asking how to become a Christian, because she wanted to do so. Her Japanese is limited and her English even more so, so I told her to pray in Chinese, and God would hear and understand and give her new birth in Christ. I look forward to seeing her again on Sunday! We were able to get a Chinese Bible for her, and if she is still uncertain on Sunday I will give her a list of references to read, identifying books of the Bible by their sequence, since I don’t know the Chinese names for them. I don’t have the wisdom, but God does! As I assist with “birthing” new Christians, I also need to keep helping those who’ve been around a while keep growing in their nutritional intake, spiritually speaking. This verse needs to be understood and applied by all, so that together we may walk in all that God intends for us.

Father, thank You indeed for yesterday and all it held. It is a truly joyous thing to be involved in spiritual birth. It is also deeply satisfying and encouraging for someone to whom I’ve been ministering to accept what You’ve been offering him through me. I ask for many more such births, and I ask You to use me to nurture and shepherd the flock as You know they need. Father, I’m back to praying that Your Name be hallowed and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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