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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 1 ~ Servants of Jesus

Day 1: Servants of Jesus

James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

I grew up with one brother. If there is a rule that exists between brothers it is this: defeat the other at all costs. Older brothers must win in whatever battle is being waged lest they suffer the shame of losing to their younger brother. For the younger brother, there is no greater prize than conquering the older. It is constant, intense competition. Loving competition? Sure, I guess. But competition nonetheless. One must never admit defeat!

James, the author of the letter we will be living in the next 40 days, was the brother of Jesus. And not just in the spiritual sense. It is quite likely that they both had Mary as their mother (though, Joseph was not Jesus' father). To be sure, she raised the both of them. Can you imagine growing up with the perfect, sinless Son of God? You couldn't blame him for anything! You couldn't get away with anything. Every "tattle" he told would be the truth! There would be no winning with this one! It would be constant defeat.

So, it is rather remarkable to read James' introduction to his epistle: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." He is a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, his older brother! It is almost as though he is claiming defeat. "He is my Lord, I am His servant. He wins!" But, oh, what a joyful defeat!

In this life we'll have one of two masters: Satan or Jesus. You are a servant of one or the other. There is no middle ground. You cannot be neutral. You may say, "But I am my own master." Bear in mind that is exactly what Satan would have you say. Anything that gets you away from the gracious rule of Christ is fine by him. His rule is one of sin, pride, accusation, and guilt. His reign leads to death. To be a servant of Satan is to be a slave to sin bound for death.

We are born under such tyranny. But here is the problem, we grow to love it. The darkness becomes comfortable. So that, when the light of Christ breaks in with the announcement of freedom, we may recoil in fear, perhaps even rebel against the light. Such a rebellion is what put our Liberator on the cross. Our Savior himself suffered defeat on the cross, but in that defeat, won victory over sin, death and Satan! He rescued the rebels (us) from the wicked slave owner and brought us into the kingdom of His marvelous light, where there is redemption and the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).

James, the brother of our Lord, actually encountered Jesus after He had risen from the dead (I Corinthians 15:7). In that encounter Jesus demonstrated to His brother that He had defeated death and had been given dominion over all creation. James' heart of sin and doubt was replaced with a heart of faith. He was now more than happy to be known as a servant of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his brother.

Repent: Heavenly Father, I confess to you that I have not always lived as a servant of your grace. I have tried to be my own lord and run my own life. I have failed to recognize the authority of your Son over me. Have mercy on me for the sake of His holy death and grant me a spirit of joy in knowing that Christ is my Lord and my friend. AMEN!

Respond: Find a way to show someone in your family that you love them. Write them a note, do a chore for them, or call them up and tell them you love them.

Pastor Bob

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