Scripture reading for November 2nd: James 1
James was the half-brother of Jesus Christ and the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. James wrote this letter as possibly one of the first letters of encouragement and correction taken into the body of writings known as the New Testament. He wrote during a time of intense persecution for Jewish believers who had taken Christ as the Messiah. One of his primary concerns was deception.
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all He created.” (James 1:16-18)
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)
“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
In order for a person to be deceived, they must believe that information is the truth when it is, in reality, not true. We can be ‘self-deceived’ when we choose to believe something that we want to be true, but fail to accept anything that might show it is not true. James was warning the Jewish believers and us of the folly of deception. We are truly in a bad state if we believe something is true that is really false and refuse to allow anyone to correct us! Faith and obedient action must go together. We much watch our tongues and always trust that God is good!