Mark preached from James 1:12-25 this morning, looking at three sections:

(1) James 1: 12-18
Everyone faces temptation in their lives and sometimes we give in to it. It’s important to recognise that God does not tempt us, as v13-14 make clear. We are tempted by our own sinful natures and by the enemy and can either give in to it (which leads to sin and ultimately death) or resist. The enemy seeks to deceive us and it’s important also that we recognise that our own desires are not necessarily God’s desires for our lives. God is the source of every good thing (v17) and can be trusted to give us the good things we require (which may not be the same as saying He gives us everything we want!) God chose us and shapes our lives.

(2) James 1:19-21
Mark summarised these verses by telling us “Shut up and listen! Don’t get angry!” Sometimes we spend so much time talking (even to God) that we don’t leave any time to listen for His voice. Sometimes we respond to others and to God with anger. We need to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Waiting before God is the way that we can fulfil this command.

(3) James 1:22-25
We need to receive God’s word with meekness and then do something about what we hear. The NKJV talks about the ‘implanted word’. God’s word is faithful to minister to us, but again, we need to be listening and then we need to acknowledge that we have to do something about what we hear. Sometimes that is a word which will require immediate action from us; at other times, it’s a more gradual process, but if we fail to act on what we hear, we are like a man who looks in a mirror, moves away and then forgets what he looks like. The promise of these verses is that if we hear God’s word and do it, we will be blessed by God.

God is a listening and a doing God. We, therefore, if we are to be imitators of God, have to be a listening and a doing people.