Summary: How do we put God first in our lives.
Put God First
One day a doctor called one of his patients into his office to deliver some very important news. “I have received the results of your tests and I have some bad news and some good news.” The patient was quiet for a moment, sensing the gravity of the announcement, “Let me have the good news first, Doc,” said the patient. The doctor took a deep breath and said, “You only have 24 hours to live!”
“Oh my goodness,” shouted the patient, “If that’s the good news what could the bad news possibly be?”
The doctor replied, “I was supposed to tell you the good news yesterday.” Very few of us live as if there is no tomorrow. Most of us live as if there will be many tomorrows.
Like the popular musical song from Annie – “The sun will come out, Tomorrow…Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya’ tomorrow; you’re only a day away.” And don’t get me wrong, in some respects living as if there will be many tomorrows is good, but in other respects it can be very bad.
If we look forward to tomorrow with hope, then that is a fine perspective. But if we look forward to tomorrow with a haughty spirit, then we are in danger.
This is where we are in our sermon series through the book of James on Practical Christian Living. James deals again with the issue of pride. Here we see that in issues of life God becomes second fiddle. He’s pushed aside in how we treat each other and our attitudes.
Gaither Vocal Band song called Second fiddle. It talks about how God won’t be put aside. The chorus says; It’s not a bill that’s up to be voted on, it became a law when He wrote it in stone, Number 1 on the list of His big 10, He came to earth and He said it again, it’s been the same since the beginning of time, don’t be fooled in thinking that it’s not a crime, it’s not a rhyme or a riddle—God don’t play second fiddle.
When we do what we want, when we want, when we say what we want, about whoever we want, we are saying to God I know what is best and God by the way, I’ll get back to you tomorrow, or better yet, Sunday.
God says to us here that dog won’t hunt. I have to be first today. It matters today what we are for God. So how do we Put God First? Let me give you four practical truths we must follow to overcome our pride that James shows us we have in this scripture passage.
I. The Words We Use (v.11) Here the Bible issues a command. “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.” This is speaking about brothers and sisters in Christ. Wednesday night in 1Peter, the Bible used the same word and commanded us to not speak evil of one another. This word means to backbit, complain, censor, grumble, or gossip, to lower a person’s reputation in the eyes of another.
James preached more about the words we use and our motives behind the words than any other book of the Bible. We all know that malicious gossip is sin and complaining or grumbling is wrong but let me take this a step farther. Too many times we speak evil without ever noticing we are doing it.
For example, someone says pastor we really need to pray for so and so. She and then they tell me the whole story, how I should pray, what they think so and so should do, and the reason so and so is in this situation. They conclude with; “I’m telling you all this so you know how to pray for them.”
In Numbers 12:2 we are first introduced to gossip. It was a family affair. Moses was leading God’s people and his sister Miriam thought she should be in charge.
In the book, Why Churches Die, Mac Brunson and Ergun Caner make the following statement; “Gossip is never isolated. First Moses leadership was questioned, and then his leadership was attacked. Even if gossip begins in innocence, it becomes malicious. Gossip divides. One can hear Miriam’s rationale that she could lead just as easily as Moses. How did she implant that belief in the hearts of the Israelites? By gossip. Gossip builds up the perpetrator by tearing down the victim. Miriam questioned Moses leadership and implicitly placed herself on equal ground with Moses.”
But let’s remember Miriam was the first child and Moses was the baby of the family. Being the baby and having a big sister I can relate.
But God’s word takes it farther. The Bible says if we speak this way, we speak evil of the law of God and we become a judge of the law of God. What God is saying here is when we do this we become a substitute for God’s Word. Pride sets in and we become a critic of the Bible itself.