I'm a Pepper!

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
-James 4:11 ESV

James sums up the past chapter and a half with this thought. Don't speak evil. It's so easy to speak evil. So easy to judge. Just don't do it. Have you ever tried that?

I feel like speaking evil is like a bad habit. Have you ever tried to break a bad habit? I've been trying to stop drinking soda for a long time, but I love Dr Pepper too much. Taylor and I went to Wal-Mart yesterday and she asked if I needed more Dr Pepper. I had a killer caffeine headache, but I said no, I'm giving it up. I was doing well, until I went to Chili's last night and had five glasses of it. Once we get used to something, it's hard to give it up. Speaking evil is like that.

But how much harder is it to build someone up? To compliment someone? I dare you to build someone up this next week. Speak life into people, and don't destroy them with your words. Compliment, encourage, bear someone's burdens, don't hate, fight, and belittle. It's not your job. The world already does that, true christians don't need to.


Uhhh, no, I'm really not...

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
-James 4:4-5 ESV

I think we like to avoid uncomfortable situations. I know I do.

Occasionally I'll watch The Office. The other week one guy wanted to break-up with his girlfriend. Break-ups are uncomfortable to begin with, but then doing it at the girlfriends friend's bachelorette party? Way worse. And I was watching it. I told Taylor I couldn't watch, but there I was, watching it...

I think that's why it's easy for us to sometimes avoid certain texts in the Bible. First, James calls the church adulterous people. (Uncomfortable) I think we can think of some more modern terms for that. In essence, those words are what he's calling them. These people are choosing earthly things over God. Earthly things can be a variety of things. Sleep, sports, children, fishing, etc. There things aren't in and of themselves bad things, but when we put them in front of God, they become bad.

Then James describes God as jealous, saying "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us.". God being described as jealous has confused many people. Oprah and Bill Maher are just a few. Jealousy, like many other words, has two meanings, a positive and negative.

In Gal 5:20 jealousy is listed as an act of a sinful nature. But in 2 Cor 11:2 Paul refers to a jealousy for others, indicating a relationship that he is zealous to keep. This positive attribute would certainly be consistent with a Perfect God.

I am jealous for Taylor. Not of her. What's hers is mine, so I don't have to be jealous of what she has because it's mine too. (Oprah heard God was a jealous God and it turned her away from christianity. She thought God was jealous of her and the things she had, not for her and her best interests.) But if someone is hitting on Taylor and they are trying to steal her attention away from me and our marriage, I have a right to be jealous for her. I want her, what's best for her, and I definitely don't want some other guy around her.

In the same way God wants us. He wants what's best for us. And when something comes around trying to steal our attention away from Him, and we give into that thing, we are going outside of our relationship with God for satisfaction, and in a very real way cheating on God.

I know this was a long post with little humor (I hoped the pictures helped), but the idea of God being a jealous God has confused many and turned them away from God, and I want you to understand the concept.


πόλεμος looks like gibberish

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

-James 4:1-3 ESV

Is it strange that christians fight? Not only fight, but war? The greek word πόλεμος (translated to quarrels in the ESV) also means to war, battle, or fight. So why were they warring? Their passions were at warring with them. And these passions weren't the good kind, like I'm passionate about sports, or dancing or whatever, but more like lusts, stuff that we shouldn't be desiring.

We all have those things in our lives. Things we ask from God that we know we shouldn't necessarily be asking for. Like, "God, give me the answers to the test, and sorry for playing video games all last night." Or, "Please God, if you do this, then I'll do that." We're not asking right. We're asking selfishly and we're focused on ourselves. Jesus taught us how to pray, and how to ask. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 ESV)

When we start seeking God first in all we ask and do, these wars and fights won't matter. This week, seek God first, and ask for His wisdom and will for your life, and see what happens.