The Epistle of James: An Integrated Life
In Psalm 86:11 the psalmist petitions the Lord to give them “an undivided heart.” This petition has stuck with me and marked my prayers for many years. What a wondrous request and hope! It is the hope of a life marked by desires and longings that add up, that cohere, that are fully integrated. The good news of the Gospel is that through Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit, God has made a way for us into the undivided hearts and integrated lives for which we long and were made.
Yet what does it look like to live a whole and integrated life? Concretely and specifically? Without fragmentation and disintegration? These questions are at the center of the short New Testament book of James that will be our focus at COTC with a sermon series over the coming weeks. In writing to early Christians with very practical wisdom, James provides us with great insight into what it means to wholistic and wholeheartedly follow Jesus in all of our lives.
This short book has gotten a bum rap through history. Regarded by Martin Luther as an “epistle of straw”, James has been understood to have nothing pertinent to say regarding Jesus, and of little value for those who would follow him. However, in the coming weeks as we look more closely at James what we will find is deep wisdom for Christians for living lives of integrity, coherence, and consistency in concrete and specific ways. More than straw, what we will find is pure gold for our lives in our fragmented and fragmenting world.
Join us these weeks in August and September as we travel through this great letter. I expect you will find it an encouraging and joy-producing endeavor! Take time to read he letter on your own through these weeks as well.
One more note, we have a prayer night this evening at the Parish House at 7:30pm. Join us for a time of learning about and practicing listening prayer. Whenever we set aside time in stillness and silence, informed by God’s Word, He is faithful and generous to speak. I hope you can join us for this time of encouragement and comfort.