Progressive Refinement


Today’s Reading: James 1:19-27

Good Morning,  I apologize for the delay this morning.  Last night we didn’t have internet access, so this morning I made a 25 mile trek to the city to send off this post.  One amazing aspects of this journey is I saw my first moose ever. This was awesome.   Let’s get into the reading.

In the letter of James, the apostle is writing to the new church and reinforcing the teachings of Christ.  James is now an elder in the church and is witnessing some of the same issues that had been present before Christ in Judaism to continue in the new church among the Christians.   The issues that are presented are: 1.) Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 2.) Be doers of the word and not only hearers, 3.) Anyone who is doing the work of God, but doesn’t control his words is not doing true works of God.  In these issues presented there is a progressive refinement movement present where you cannot only do part of the process, but you must continually strive to get better.

In the first issue, we are called to listen and allow this to guide our thoughts and actions.  We should be proactive and not allow the situations or our feelings dictate our responses.  This is an area that is more difficult to harness without practice.   It seems that many of the early church leaders would allow their own personal opinions and perceptions cloud their judgement and this would lead to frustrations and conflict.  How many times in a day can you allow your own emotions to interfere your service?  How many times are you not fully listening to others and assuming you know what the other person is wanting or how to react?  This is an area that I am continually progressively refining in myself. As I write this, I am reminded of a situation today where I helped my son to rethink his reactions to his sisters. Progressive refinement.

The second issue, is to be doers and not only hearers of the Word.  We can listen to all the newest sermons, bible talks, podcasts, and other outlets; but if we are not actively engaging and being intentional in our service we are no better than those who do not know the Word.  In the first issue, we were not hearing the word.  Then James tells us since you are listening and hearing the word, you must continue to move forward and now be active in the word.  There are times that we have listen to the word and then we get excited and start to become active and motivated.  After a while we are back to where we began or sometimes further than where we started.  We should be intentional about the service and the way God moves in our lives.  We must engage God, through the Spirit to actively be a part of our lives and work in us for the Glory of the kingdom.

The final issue, you are doing these works that you have heard from God to be active in His works, we must be careful to not allow our own ambitions and desires cloud the true objective.  God is in search of you and desires you to promote the kingdom which is the true objective.  We should seek God, do His will, and remember that it is not us that is in charge. Sometimes, I forget that this is not my life and my hopes and dreams, but it is God’s purpose for me that allows me to be here and serving him.  Again James makes it plain and simple,

James  1:27  “ Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their afflictions”

 This is true religion.  It is not who is better than the other, it is not about who can speak better than the other, it is not about who can out do the other.  True religion is love others unconditionally, without the expectation of acknowledgement in return.   When we have question if the works that we are doing are pleasing to God, we should ask ourselves “Are we taking care of those that are not able to assist themselves and are we doing it with love?”

As we look at these issues, we must see that it is not a finite and limited progression of growth, but a constant changing and dynamic process.  We have a glimpse of the road map, but we need to continually ask for direction and clarification of the directions that Christ has for us.  Progressive Refinement.  James continues to give us insight if we are receptive to the Word.  Be Blessed.