Dragging your feet?
Barely making it through the workday?
If so, that can only mean one thing…
IT’S HUMP DAY
That also means that it’s time for the second installment in my Mid-Week Motivator series. If you didn’t catch the gist from last week’s sesh, then here it is in brief: Mid-Week Motivator is an entity designed for encouragement, challenge, and motivation from the Bible. My hope and goal is to give you hope and challenge your goals!
Last week we looked at James 1: 19-21. These few verses really drove home the need to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” (v. 19) James challenged his readers, and us, to put aside our selfish motives, take time to listen to others, and stop getting so angry! This is incredibly hard because the only thing on our minds is ourselves, our wants, and our hurts/frustrations/annoyances when we’re upset.
This thought goes contrary to the natural way of life, quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, yet Jesus calls us to “Be holy as I am holy…” (I Peter 1:16). As Christians, we should be seeking to be made more and more like Jesus in our daily lives. The reason we should follow this command is because it is also said “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The reason we should take time to listen, instead of spouting off into anger, is because we love the other person like Jesus does.
Today, we’re still camping out in James, but one chapter over.
In James 2:1-13, James lays it on thick with the ever-present thought of favoritism in his day and age. Many Christians were elevating the rich who walked into their churches while proverbially stepping on the poor. They were showing favoritism!
James calls these Christians out for their lack of love when he says,
“Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? Yet you dishonored that poor man. Don’t the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Don’t they blaspheme the noble name that was pronounced over you at your baptism? Indeed, if you keep the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” James 2:5-9
His point is this: There is no man, no matter how rich or poor, that should be elevated, or downgraded, to a level that is superseding, or undermining, his worth. Basically, there is no man who is better or worse than anyone else; not even you! James levels the playing field by saying that we are all sinners and in need of Jesus, no matter our background, jobs, and/or wealth.
He proves his point by adding this:
“For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all.” James 2:10
Boom. All on the same level in God’s eyes. With all of that said, I want to take a second to dig into the Scripture that’s on my heart. Let’s look at James 2: 13.
“For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
James has spent the entire chapter hammering home this idea of no partiality. He then concludes his thought by giving them a little more incentive on being humble and impartial. He basically says that if you judge some men to be less based on wealth while you elevate others because they’re rich, you are in danger of having no mercy shown to you by God.
Kind of a harsh sentiment, isn’t it?
If we’re being honest, though, it only makes sense. By being partial, we’re not showing the immense love that God has shown to us. If we are operating as judge and jury with no mercy in our hearts, how then are we to say that we are true Christians? God is mercy. God is love. It is only fitting that the followers of this God be like Him in every way. If we are not, we can expect to reap that which we sow.
Showing favoritism is a sin. It’s born out of selfish motives, produces selfish and sinful thoughts, and is hypocritical. If we punish the poor, we elevate ourselves to be “better than they.” If we praise the rich and laud them as lord, we do so for selfish gain and allow man to occupy a seat reserved for God. These things are not love and they are not of God.
Contrary to the title of this post, we should be challenged to show mercy to the people around us. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross for our sins so that we may what? Elevate ourselves with pride and step on the weak? No! He died on the cross so that we may be like him: full of love, compassion, and mercy.
When someone in your life makes you angry, decide to act in mercy instead of lashing out. If someone stops you on the street and asks for money, stop asking yourself if they’re going to use your money for ill. If someone you love asks for your help but you don’t have time, put aside your desires and show mercy and love to this person.
Life is not about you. God has called you, if you are truly saved, to be holy and to be made like Him. You cannot do it on your own but you can certainly do it through His power.
Here are 3 quick takeaways for today:
1.) God demands you be merciful
2.) You can’t do it on your own
3.) He can do it through you
This should be your motivation: Jesus loves you and He has shown ultimate mercy to you despite knowing all that you are. Remember this love and let it encourage you and push you to strive after Him. If you’ve found that you have made mistakes in this area, ask for forgiveness and let God’s mercy show you how it’s done. It’s going to be ok!
Take some time this week to pray that God would open your eyes to where you may be showing a lack of mercy. Then ask that He would change that so you could be made more like His son.
How has God shown you His love and mercy? What can you do to show others that very same thing?
Have a great rest of your week!