Today's devotion from James 2 & 3. Many people want to focus on James 2 and the curious wording concerning faith, salvation, and works. They want to bicker and argue about the theological implications as if James would contradict the teaching of Paul or Peter. They want to use these verses for their "gotcha" factor in winning an argument about justice. In reality, when we only look at these select verses or teachings, we miss the beauty of James' teaching.
Yes, in the most direct sense James is about faith and works. However, in my usual fashion, I like to think of things from a different perspective. I don't want to simply focus on the glaringly obvious teaching. Instead, I want to consider it from another angle, and that angle is this: isn't it wonderful that our God is so invested in our lives and godliness that He cares as much for the fruit of our tongues as He does the destination of our beings?
Have you considered that? While we could make arguments for and against faith and works, James is teaching that God cares about us in totality. While we might imagine the big picture of our lives, God wants even the smallest moments and off-hand comments to reveal His presence and work in us.
I think the reason for this is because the big things are often easy decisions. It's easy to choose not to murder someone. It's not too unbearably difficult to choose not to have an affair. After all, atheists aren't murders and agnostics can have happily monogamous marriages. The real evidence, or fruit, of Christ in us is often in those moments that aren't even really thought out. The reason is because these moments and conversations reveal who we really are. For this reason, I would argue it is more important to be gracious to the waitress having a bad day than to the famous preacher.
I don't think our walk with God will be tested and proven in the big things, but in the small things that we don't think about because they simply spring from who we are. So, what do your default reactions reveal about you?