Summary: We need to doers of the word and not hearers to be blessed and used by God
BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE
First I want to thank you all for being here. I thought you would find these messages too convicting and quit coming. Even Simone finds them convicting because she was meowing at me yesterday when I was writing this out. Then she went back to licking herself.
I think by now it’s very evident that there is not much theology in James is there? Well not like you saw in John’s gospel. For example we haven’t seen the reason Jesus came have we? Anybody remember why He came? And nothing about His miracles is there? The fact that you and I believe is a miracle. And remember we weren’t there when Jesus did these. We believed in Him anyway, and remember we are blessed. Remember Jesus’ words to Thomas?
John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
In my country we have 5 branches of the armed forces; the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Marine Corps. There is also the Coast Guard, but their function is different than the above branches as they are not in combat except in war time.
All branches of the armed forces are actively recruiting new members as others leave or retire. And each branch of course wants you to join them. I remember when I went to talk to the Navy recruiter at 2 different recruiting stations how an Army recruiter tried to fast talk me into signing up with them instead of the Navy. One recruiter asked me why I wanted to join the Navy. I started by telling him how my father was in the Navy and he immediately interrupted me saying, “Oh so you’re joining the Navy just because your father did.” He didn’t let me finish giving my reasons I wanted to join the Navy. He went on to tell me how it his job to deal honestly with anyone he talks to bla bla bla. I think he was just trying to fill his quota.
Another time I was waiting for my recruiter at who had signed me up at my home recruiting station. The Army representative was there. Notice I said Army representative, not Army recruiter. I’ll tell you why later. He asked me what I was going to do in the Navy. I told him I did not know yet. He told me that with the Army I know what I’m going to do before I go in and it’s guaranteed in writing. There was another man waiting for the Marine recruiter, and the Army representative did everything he could to get him to sign up and go in and take the entrance tests the next day. I asked the Army representative how long he had been an Army recruiter. He corrected me saying, “I’m not an Army recruiter, I’m an Army representative.” I asked him what’s the difference, to which he replied, “You tell me. What does a recruiter do?” I answered, “He recruits.” He then asked me, “What does a representative do?” I answered, “He represents.” I still joined the Navy and not the Army.
But the armed forces all tried to make themselves look good to get people to sign up for them. The Army once had a motto, “Be all that you can be. Find your future in the Army.”
I want to emphasize be all you can be. The Army believed they could help you realize all that you can be and then help you to be that person. They wanted you to live up to your potential. They didn’t want mediocre soldiers. They wanted solders at their best. That’s what God wants for us. He wants us to be mature Christians. He had James write these very practical words to some believers who were suffering persecution, and to help them be all that they can be. Before I forget let’s remember the Christians in Orissa, India. I got an email yesterday from a friend, and they are suffering some very serious persecution there. Hundreds of churches got blown up or destroyed. More than 5000 Christian families had their homes burned or destroyed. This is all because a Hindu priest and his assistants, who were trying to convert people back to Hinduism was gunned down and the Christians are being blamed for it.
Do you want to be all God wants you to be? James gives us some very practical advice on how not to do it and how to do it. Both have results.
Let’s first see how not to do it. Look at the first 2 verses 19, 20.
James 1:19 ¶ My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,