My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes is. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there “ or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2: 1 – 4 [NIV]
Don’t show favouritism; don’t show partiality. That is what James wants us to understand in these words. The word he used for favouritism is one which means ‘receiving the face’ – so he is saying to us, ‘Don’t judge people by what they look like on the outside’.
James 1: 22 [NIV]
The Bible is a wonderful book. On the one hand, its message can speak clearly to children; on the other, its pages hold all manner of riches for those who devote their lives to its study. Its attraction is inexhaustible.
“Don’t be deceived,my dear brothers and sisters.Every good and perfect gift is from above,coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,who does not changelike shifting shadows.” Verse 16 and 17
Last week we saw that God does not tempt us towards evil, but today we remind ourselves that God brings all that is good. Suffering, trials, fleeting earthly wealth and temptations are all difficult challenges that we face as Christians. But, with any problem we need to come back to God and his goodness. We will suffer, but God will also give us good things. We may be tempted, but God’s way is always better and more fulfilling. We should not desire earthly wealth but God is building our treasures in heaven. God is fundamentally good and he shares that with us.
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their ownevil desire and enticed.”” Verse 13 and 14
Earlier we considered how to be joyful in our suffering and that God uses these situations for our growth. But, it is dangerous to consider God at the root of suffering and temptations. God is love and does not harm his people. God created humans with the ability to make real choices; to choose between good and evil. Suffering came into the world when humans disobeyed and allowed evil to enter in.
“Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position” Verse 9
Only God is worthy of glory and worship. It is important as Christians to remind themselves of that, instead of seeking our own glory. Christians who have little material wealth will not feel wealthy in the world’s eyes, but God can give them wealth in his eyes. Those who believe can have the treasures of heaven. They know that these treasures are given by God and not something that they have done for themselves. But what about those with faith and earthly wealth and status?