Ezekiel 39:1-40:27, James 2:18-3:18, Psalms 118:1-18, Proverbs 28:2
Today is the 19th day of November. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s great to be here with you. In fact, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than here with you now taking the next step forward in our journey through the Scriptures this year. And it won’t be long before we wrap up the book of Ezekiel, but we will still continue forward for the next few days. We’re reading from the New Living Translation this week. Ezekiel chapter 39 verse 1 through 40 verse 27.
Okay. So, James is here in our lives right now just pretty much kicking butt. I don’t know if you’re feeling that way, but I always feel that way reading the book of James because it’s so direct, so concise, so clear. And, so, I mean basically, we’ve kind of passed through the middle of this letter and what James is trying to…to point out here is that, yes, indeed, absolutely, faith is where the story with God begins, absolutely and he even refers to Abraham in the same way that Paul did; however, James says, “once that story has begun, like yes, you have to reach out in faith and live and walk by faith but once that story is happening it’s not…your faith isn’t real if your life doesn’t measure up to what you say.” In other words, your faith isn’t faith if your actions do not describe the faith that you claim. Like faith isn’t something you can just claim that you have as a possession and have put in a drawer or a closet and compartmentalized into a part of your life that is reserved largely for a couple of hours on Sunday morning. But that that faith goes back into the drawer and the you move back into your life and that faith doesn’t inform the way you live and transform the way you see everything. According to James, our faith should change us utterly. It should be an influence over our thoughts and our words and our deeds in a way that irreversibly affects the way we move forward into life and through the world and in all of our interactions, otherwise it’s not really faith. And James drove that point home by saying, “just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” So, obviously James is…well…I mean if the James that wrote this is the brother of Jesus then he is speaking very directly as the leader of the Jerusalem church. So, he may have been a very direct person but probably he’s being this direct because he doesn’t want to be misunderstood at all. If we have faith but it’s not affecting the way we live and isn’t transforming us then according to James, it’s dead faith. And, so, James moves into a prime example of how this actually practically works. One of the ways that we actually put our faith into action is in the way that we monitor and steward what’s coming out of our mouths. So, James likened our tongues to the bit in a horse’s mouth or the…the rudder of a ship. So, it’s a small thing that can steer something very large. Our tongues are a small thing hiding behind our teeth, but they steer the entire trajectory of our lives. Such a big deal that James said that we can burn our lives down all around us with our tongues. Ohhhh…yeah…I mean…so, we have all said things we would un-say in the moment and we’ve all said things that later on we regret having said. And then there are times that we…right…you just are burning your life down around you…you’ve just…you’ve started and it’s just a scorched earth because all self-control is lost and the gloves are off and things are being said that shouldn’t be said to another human being at all. So, fundamentally, James…James is saying that’s a problem, that’s a big problem, but if we are willing to observe how dark our words can be and how they can bring darkness into a situation, if we’ll see that we can burn our lives down around us with our mouths and realize that then we also need to realize that the equal and corresponding good can come from that. Like we can use our words to bring light and life and good news in the same way that we can bring darkness. The odd thing is that we can do those two things, all on the same day even in the same hour even just minutes apart. James says, “sometimes the tongue praises our Lord and Father and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so, blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely my brothers and sisters this is not right.” So, since we realize there’s a lot of power going on in this little member behind our teeth, that we have such power to bless and to curse, then maybe the first actionable step forward in putting our faith…like living the faith we claim would be in harnessing and controlling what we say because we all know what can happen when we don’t. We can indeed be angels of mercy and stone-cold killer’s with our tongues. And as James is telling us, that’s not right. And if we could control our tongues like the rudder of a ship, the rest would follow, the rest of us would follow in body and in soul and set us on a path that will put our faith into action in everything we do, because what we’re learning from the book of James is…we can thing say anything but if what we’re saying does not line up with the way we’re living our lives then what we’re saying isn’t true.
Father that’s stark, that's…in some ways it might even see them confrontational or harsh, but we thank You for Your word. We thank You that through the power of Your Holy Spirit, it will look us in the face and confront us and on this particular issue most of us need to be confronted. And, so, Holy Spirit come into what we say, into what we claim, and into how we’re actually living that out. And as we’ve learned today there is no better place to begin looking for evidence of this transformational faith then in what we’re saying out of our mouths. So, we ask forgiveness for starters for using our mouths to worship You and to denigrate and diminish those You have created around us all on the same day. We acknowledge along with James, this isn’t right. And, so, we step into that because it’s not right and it never will be right and it’s causing damage because we’re trying to mix darkness and light at the same time into some kind of potion that’s supposed to transform us when it’s doing nothing because we’re practicing a dead faith according to James. So…so…so we just let that be. We invite You into that. We invite You to convict us in the areas that we need to be convicted and to correct us in the areas that need to be corrected so that we might live our faith and so that it might transform us irreversibly so that we might reveal Your kingdom in this world. We ask this, we pray this, we humble ourselves and receive this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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And that is it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.