James & the Path to all Joy and Flourishing, through Partiality

James 2:1-13

2 My brothers,show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

“Become judges with evil thoughts”

Oh dear I have a very active thought life.  I have to ask myself what part of that do I need to get a handle on…

It is the part where I imagine that I am the point.  That God is for me to be lifted up and not His glory.  God has plans and deeds for me to do, but it is all for His glory, and not for me to be considered cleaver or wise.

I long for partiality and so I put my best foot forward and forget that the whole point is for God to be centre stage.  He is MVP and I called to warm the bench till called upon to take part.  Not because I am needed but because I am needy.

When the light shines on my truth, it appears ungrateful…

And is that not partiality?  When we see things and people on scales of what is most and least. When we align ourselves to glean what those better and more influential are dropping, for us to run and gather. Just to position ourselves to receive the approval of the fallen and not the blessing of the Father?

So what are we to do to avoid a life of lost chances and regrettable choices?

Don’t Judge a book by it’s cover and don’t connect your hospitality in a manner to reach personal gain.  Hospitality shown with an agenda is a tainted Love offering.  We are all Gods children and all deserve the same treatment.  We all struggle with different sin and require the same salvation.

We can’t only focus on the victories that come easily, for every sin I overcome, more are reigning in my life and in my heart.  But this is where God honers the fight.  That is where strength for the flourishing is built.  That is where the Joy if the Law is revealed.

Because the Law is whole and we have no chance of getting it all right. Therefore we must rely on Mercy.  And Mercy begets Mercy, so show Mercy so you can receive it and receive the Joy that sustains in the fight and in the struggle.

When we look at others through the filter of the gospel. Through the branches of our own family tree, starting with Adam in the garden.  That is when we find the strength to show grace.  Partiality falls away when we recognize our own faces and failing, in the flaws we perceive in others.  That is when Love can be released in a flood we can saturate the lost and hurting with what will bring wholeness and healing.  

And what is that which we are all aching for?  Acceptance without requirements.

When we choose the relationships we lean into through prayer and not through partiality we fulfill the gospel.  Likewise, when we see the Do’s and the Don’t laid out for us in red letters, we are receiving an invitation into a better way.  Into a deeper offering of Grace and Kindness.

Recently I have had opportunity to offer my home and my time in specify ways.  As I have leaned into individuals in intentional ways, with caring for, and teaching skills.  Skills and offerings that seems simple and minimal to me.  I have been blessed to see the fullness of Gods abundance in my home and in the privileges I have.  My thankfulness for the chance to stay home with my littles full time, and recognizing the homemaking and homesteading skills I take for granted are rich blessings for me to offer.  Not only to those who fully understand the depth of my offering, but to those who might never know the opportunity to simply live and dwell in the places that bring stillness and nourishment.

The Lord presented to me who He would have me lean into. I never could have know who needed my love offering most.  Who could have given me a new perception on my own day to day living.

A lack of partiality has returned the blessing to me in dynamic ways, I never could have imaged.  It takes dyeing to self and surrendering my time and relationships. To enter in to a better way.  To enter into the gospel, and be blessed in the unexpected places by the unexpected people in my life.

Do the Word!  Love all equally, with the intention of fulfilling the Gospel and walking out the warmth of Gods Love to ALL HIS CHILDREN.  Not just the easy to love but those with prickles and thrones as well.

This is the message of James…

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