June 3, 2021

Fulfill the Royal Law of Love... The Book of James Bible Series


Hello, Friends! I hope your Summer is kicking off with lots of exactly what you need -- whatever that may be! We're back again for another installment in our Book of James Bible Series and today we are reading through James Chapter 2, verses 8-10! 

Let's go!  We'll start with The Passion Translation Bible:

"Your calling is to fulfill the royal law of love as given to us in this Scripture: “You must love and value your neighbor as you love and value yourself!” For keeping this law is the noble way to live. But when you show prejudice you commit sin and you violate this royal law of love! For the one who attempts to keep all of the law of Moses but fails in just one point has become guilty of breaking the law in every respect!" (The Passion Translation)

While we know full well that this calling is far from easy --James spells it out for us so simply! And how much do we love the way The Passion puts it: Your calling is to fulfill the royal law of love.  

I mean...?  

We all seem to want to 'know' what our 'calling' is! Everyone wants to know their destiny and what God has gifted and created them for --but here's the deal: It's for this! It is to fulfill the royal law of love!  It's to love your neighbor AS MUCH AS you love and value yourself --and your OWN wants and needs!  

The catch is two-fold because some of you don't love or treat yourself very well.  (This breaks the Father's heart, because He adores you and He made you and --as I'm sure you've heard-- He doesn't make junk!) But also - some of you love and treat yourself best and first with no regard to anyone else. It's the way to get ahead, you say. (It's not.  It's not the way to get ahead! You remember how we talked about God's Ladder of Success last time and how it is different? Yeah. That.)

If we are honest - we can go back and forth between both of those extremes but God wants us to stay in the middle - loving both ourselves AND our neighbors! He enables and empowers us to do BOTH! 

James goes on to say that when we show prejudice, we commit sin.  

OK... I know every little and big thing is on the verge of exploding right now in our culture and it really doesn't matter if you side on the far left or the far right --our prejudice is showing and yet we refuse to call it sin. Oh - we will call 'theirs' sin - easy peasy and hands down... but ours? No, no, no!  Ours is not sin... ours is justified, correct, holy even. (But is it? Is it really?)

We say it around here all the time -- that Love Wins! And it does --HE does. 

However I think many people have forgotten what it looks like when Love Wins. Love is full of mercy and grace and forgiveness - Yes and thank God for it!  But it is also full of confrontation, truth-telling, and offering a better way!  

Honestly - I get tired of all the conversations because it seems all any of us are doing is --at best waiting our turn to rebuttle, or --at worst, speaking over the top of each other and never hearing... never loving... never extending grace and taking on any of the responsibility! It seems both pride AND prejudice are getting in the way, and the Royal Law of Love is being broken over and over and over again!


In The Voice, the Scripture reads like this:

"Remember His call, and live by the royal law found in Scripture: love others as you love yourself. You’ll be doing very well if you can get this down. But if you show favoritism—paying attention to those who can help you in some way, while ignoring those who seem to need all the help—you’ll be sinning and condemned by the law. For if a person could keep all of the laws and yet break just one; it would be like breaking them all." (The Voice)

I like in this version that it at least seems like it's possible to 'get this down.'  I also love that it points out what Favoritism is --it's paying attention to those who can help you in some way, while ignoring those who seem to need all the help. Wow. It also levels the playing field in reminding us that just breaking one part of the Law is breaking the whole thing! (Thank the Lord for Jesus, right?)

In the Notes of The Voice Bible, it says:

We are often mesmerized by the rich, powerful, and beautiful people of the world. We dream of associating with them; but when we focus our attention on the fashionable people of this world, it is often at the expense of those who need it the most.

Why in our culture are we so celebrity obsessed? Hollywood actors, musicians, writers, politicians, --you name it! But it doesn't stop there... Pastors, Leaders, Successful business men and women.  We show 'favoritism' without even realizing that in doing so, we are often blinded to the ones God has placed in our paths for us to bless!


Our Scriptures in The Amplified Bible:

"If, however, you are [really] fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, if you have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit]” you are doing well. But if you show partiality [prejudice, favoritism], you are committing sin and are convicted by the Law as offenders. For whoever keeps the whole Law but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of [breaking] all of it." (The Amplified Bible)

For some reason in this version, it makes me think of those who possibly were misled in thinking they were following the Law to the last letter, but hadn't recognized their own prejudice. (They are/can be us, right? I mean - we all do this from time to time!)


Lastly, The Message Bible reads like this:

"You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: “Love others as you love yourself.” But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. You can’t pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God’s law and ignoring others. (The Message Bible)

The Message, yet again, makes it clear and pretty much calls us on what we are doing: You can't pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God's law and ignoring others.  

Ouch! And also - I know you may be thinking it because I was too -even as I typed this out. But we are not under the Law... Jesus came because He knew we could not do it on our own! And this is true... but Jesus didn't come to get rid of the Law --but to fulfill it! 

And He did exactly that!  And He is our example and our guide and His Spirit fills us fresh and empowers and enables us to follow in His footsteps! We are called to RE-present Him, remember? We can't just give up even trying... 

Again - we all want a glimpse into our Big Picture Destiny and here's the thing: You won't miss it if you are daily following the Royal Rule of Love!  If you decide fresh each morning that Love will Win... that you will not show prejudice or favoritism but instead you will purpose in your heart and throughout your day to Speak Life ...to Be Love... to Shine On... then you will come closer and closer and closer to fulfilling that calling! 

You will be becoming more and more like Him!

You will be fulfilling the Calling He has given you!


Let's pray: 

Father God, 

 We are so grateful that even though we cannot possibly follow the Law --Jesus can and did! In fact, He didn't just follow it, He fulfilled it!  Thank You, Holy Spirit, for guiding us into all Truth and for showing us the way!  Empower us to Love like You Love, Lord!  Enable us to catch ourselves when we are showing preference or prejudice... help us to Love everyone the way You love everyone.

Give us grace to pour out and Truth wrapped in Love to speak gently. Thank You, Jesus, that the Word shows us how You did this again and again and again by simply offering a better way... a better life.  Give us words to speak when we should speak, and wisdom to know when we should not say a thing --but pray, instead! 

Holy Spirit - lead us to prayer... fill us fresh and give us insight and passion to intercede for those in need of direction, correction, love, and healing.  Help us to remember it's not always our job --but it is Yours... and You are well able to do it! Help us to know that sometimes You use us, and sometimes You don't! Keep us tuned in to You to know what to say and how to show Your Love best with every individual situation!  Father God, Heal our land... replace prejudice and anger and injustice with compassion and grace and mercy!

Lord, remind us of Your prayer that we all be one as You are One.  Unite our hearts with Yours... and with each other! I ask, Lord, that we would major on the majors and focus on what we have in common, rather than minoring on the minors and focusing on what divides us.  One way feels and looks and sounds like You... and the other way --well, we know the tricks and trade of our enemy.  Jesus, let us not fall for His craftiness... but rather, follow Your lead and let Love Win!

In Jesus' Name!


If you haven't noticed by now, we are on a bi-monthly schedule so we'll meet back here in this space in two weeks to dig into the next few verses of Chapter 2 together! And remember, if you've just joined us or have missed a post in this series, you can always go HERE and scroll to the bottom to find each installment of this series as it is published!

Until next time, let's purpose to:

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