Written by Patrick Landau, our youth director.
On Sunday, I preached a sermon in which my basic point was that sharing our faith is more about living out what Jesus teaches and sharing how that affects us than about heaven or hell. I heard from one of the Sunday school teachers that some of the youth were interested in picking out a verse to try to live out each week.
Since the Bible is rather long and it might be hard to know where to start, I am going to write a few posts over the next month that will hopefully be helpful. Let’s start by looking at the book of James found near the end of the New Testament. James is a great practical book as it mostly deals with how Christians are supposed to act and treat each other. It’s also five relatively short chapters, so it easy to read through.
Try this week to take one verse from the book of James and live it out. It can be connected to the themes or passages below or something completely different.
Watch your mouth! There are several verses that deal with how we are supposed to speak and use words. James tells us to be quick to listen, that it is important to control what comes out of our mouths, and to follow through on the things we promise.
Rich and poor. James is pretty clear in saying that among Christians there should be no discrimination between rich and poor. Selfish ambition is greatly criticized in the letter, and there is a specific admonition against rich people who are trying to cheat people by not paying them for their work.
Faith needs action. Probably the most well known passage in the book is James 2:17, which says that faith without works is dead. In this passage and repeated later, James makes it clear that our faith is something to live out through our actions. We cannot just wish people well and ignore their needs and consider ourselves to be good, religious people.
Miscellaneous. There is also some stuff about learning from hard times, praying, temptation, making plans, and some strange thing about Elijah at the end.
“If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” -James 2:15-17 (NRSV)
Random verse I didn’t know was there:
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, and peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.” -James 3:18 (NRSV)