Wednesday, December 31, 2008

James 1:13-18 "Two Births"

Read James 1:13-18.

"Every good and perfect gift...." NIV

I am struck with the two "births" contrasted in this passage. First is a birth spawned by the sinful nature. The enemy plays to our sinful nature by tempting us in any area that will drive us farther from the Father. And if we yield to the desires he is tempting us with, we plant a seed in our spirit. We nurture those desires with thoughts, plans, and dreams of acting them out. And if we allow those thoughts to grow within us, we will succumb to the temptation and sin is born. Embracing that sin will only lead to our spiritual death because we have chosen a path separate from Christ.

But we have a Father who loves us and did not leave us to the wiles of the enemy. The father of lies will continually drag us from one temptation to another. But the Father of Mankind is a constant in our life. He never changes; He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Almighty does not want to lead us to death, but to eternal life if we will only follow His direction and embrace His love and gift. He does not tempt us to give birth to sin, but He gives us birth through the word of truth -- His Son Jesus Christ. He have been given a life choice not filled with lies, uncertainty and sin, but one full of hope, direction, and truth.

We have been given a heritage through the scattered Christians of James day -- one of perseverance and tenacity. They were not swayed by temporal temptations that shift with the wind. They chose what appeared to be a harder path, but one that ends in rewards beyond any human imagination. The scattered tribes were displaced, but only temporarily. They were bound for a unified home -- with the Father -- and nothing would stop them from reaching their goal. Mere inconveniences were just small obstacles compared to the hope of heaven and eternity with Christ.

Each day as we take up our cross to follow Him, we are also choosing which birth to embrace -- one to sin or to life. I choose to accept the birth of life through the Word of Truth.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Research "holiness." What does it mean? Why are we called to it? How do we achieve holiness?
  2. Compare and contrast the Hebrew children's journey from Egypt to our individual spiritual journey. What "births" do you note in each? How do we break the cycle? Can it be broken?
  3. What obstacles or temptations are you facing that would pull you away from following the Almighty? Why are you entertaining those thoughts? What do you need to do to get your direction back on the right path?
  4. Why is resisting temptation so difficult? Are there major changes you need to make in your life to avoid those temptations? Make them.

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