Well folks, another Wednesday is upon us and I am teaching my staff from James 4. I love teaching through James. It is such an eye opening epistle. It challenges you to take a close look at the faith that you claim to have to see if it is living faith or dead faith. Living faith is manifested in our everyday lives, just like dead faith is manifested. God allows us to go through circumstances that reveal which faith we have.
If you are just joining us, here are the previous lessons that we have covered, learning what living faith looks like.
- Living faith vs. Dead faith
- Living faith vs. Dead faith part II
- Trials and Temptations; what’s the difference?
- Genuine faith in action
- Two spiritual births; death and life
- Living faith in action
- Living faith revealed
- Living faith produces good works
- Living faith tames the tongue with wisdom from above
- Teach heavenly wisdom
- Living faith resolves conflict
- James 4, worldliness, enmity, and judging
This lessons teaches us that the way that we invest our time reveals what kind of faith we have, living or dead.
I. Spiritual idolatry (dead faith)
James chapter 4, verses 1-4 teach us that dead faith results in spiritual idolatry. What does spiritual idolatry look like? It is when you try to have a little bit of God and a little bit of the world all at the same time. When you live by dead faith and practice spiritual idolatry, you waste your time by investing your time (a gift from God that you will have to give an account for to Him one day) in your own lusts and pleasures which are temporary and will burn up one day. In the Gospel of Luke 12:13-53, Jesus explains what it looks like to waste your life and time by not investing in the kingdom of heaven, instead, investing in temporal things. There is an example of a man who was blessed with abundance by God. Instead of taking that abundance and investing it in the kingdom of God, he takes the abundance and keeps it for himself and tries to use it to get more. Once he is at the height of his possessions, he loses his life and nobody benefits from the blessings that God gave to him. Time is a blessing from God and we can use it to invest in the kingdom or we can use it to invest in our own selfish desires. If we invest our time in ourselves, no one will benefit and we will have to stand before God and explain why we wasted His gift. If we use our time to invest in the kingdom of heaven, we will benefit from God’s amazing gift and so will others.
II. Living faith
In James 4, verses 7-10, we see that living faith does not practice spiritual idolatry. Living faith submits to God. The results of submitting to God are that you automatically resist the devil. You begin to draw near to God. By drawing near to God, you are cleansed and purified. You mourn over sin and want to be as far away from it as possible. You humble yourself and view your life from God’s perspective. Your 70 years are just a vapor. Instead of wasting your time by investing it in temporal things, you begin to invest your time in heavenly things. You seek the kingdom of heaven first. You see your allotted amount of time as gift from God that is to be used for His kingdom by investing in the people around you. When God blesses you, you immediately want to take that blessing and use it to bless those around you. I pray that the Lord finds me active when He returns. Will He find you actively investing the time that you have been given in the kingdom of heaven?
What about you my dear friend, do you realize that the time that you have been given is a gift from the Lord that you will be held accountable for one day? What are you investing your time in on a daily basis? In the past week, you lived 168 hours, just like I did, what did you invest those hours in doing? What about the 168 that you have for this week, how are you going to invest those hours in the kingdom of heaven? May the Lord help us live out our faith by investing the time that we have in the kingdom of heaven by making disciples of the people whom God has placed in our lives.