June 17, 2021

How to Take Dominion... The Book of James Bible Series


Hello, Sweet Readers! I am going to start off real honest here... I have had thoughts of throwing in the towel.  I've entertained ideas to just put this whole thing on hold --or loosen my timeline... or - well, like I said, just give it up altogether!  

I've been doing this blogging gig for a long, long, LONG time... long enough to remember what it was like in its heyday! Even for non-celebrity bloggers, there was a time when there was real community and great give and take in the blogosphere.  As much as I miss that, I have always said God called me into this before I even really knew what a blog was and I was never doing it for attention or applause. At least not from you... I write for an Audience of One and He is the One who gets to boss me around and He is the One who put this series on my heart.

But the struggle is real, Y'all! Now, I know some of you are reading along because even if you don't comment, I can track the 'hits' and I know I'm not all alone here in this corner -even if it does feel like that from time to time! Again - even if I was on my own here, I am getting so much out of this study... so I push back the temptation to give up or give in, and I sit myself down in this chair and I type out Scripture and trust that if you are sitting there, reading these words, He is drawing you and teaching you and showing you Truth! So for you, and for me, and mostly for Him... I write on!

Today we are reading through James Chapter 2, verses 11-13! 

Because, if you haven't caught on yet, it's one of my favorite translations, we'll start with The Passion:

"For the same One who tells us, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you don’t commit adultery but do commit murder, you are still guilty as a law-breaker. So we must both speak and act in every respect like those who are destined to be tried by the perfect law of liberty, and remember that judgment is merciless for the one who judges others without mercy. So by showing mercy, you take dominion over judgment!!" (The Passion Translation)

Wait a minute...? James  -- post-Jesus, is talking about the Law?!

Sigh... I know, you guys?! It's complicated! 

But Jesus, we have read, did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it! So the Law is still a thing... it's just, thank God (quite literally!), we are no longer UNDER it. But it is still something we should look to and -at least TRY to follow! Not in a strict, religious, judgy way! Not at all... James goes on here to explain this!

I love how he reminds us that we should both speak AND act as if we will be held accountable! I realize this is not a popular stance and many, even in the Body, say this is old-fashioned and out of date... that the Law is no longer something we need to adhere to because Jesus already did! But - I can't help hearing Pauls' words about how we should not sin all the more, right?

This is where I struggle... I have been religious. It's rough and no fun and full of angst and striving and unfairness and the uniform comes with some real tight judgy McJudge pants! I am a firm believer, receiver, and hopefully active giver of Grace! And so was James... but let's not skim over the hard parts because we don't like them! We SHOULD be mindful of trying to live a life that follows the heart of the Law - which really ultimately causes us to realize how we can not do it on our own! It points us to our dependence on Jesus!


Let's read it in The Voice:

"The same God who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also says, “Do not murder.” If you break either of these commands, you’re a lawbreaker, no matter how you look at it. So live your life in such a way that acknowledges that one day you will be judged. But the law that judges also gives freedom, although you can’t expect to be shown mercy if you refuse to show mercy. But hear this: mercy always wins against judgment! Thank God!" (The Voice)

I know there are extremes that fall on either side in our culture right now - even within the Church (Big C.) on almost any topic. We have friends who identify now as Messianic Jews and as much as they have a love for the Lord and a ton of knowledge about the Jewish culture and feasts and traditions, they also put themselves right back under the Law. Like - a heavy burden type of Law... not a My Yoke is Easy and My Burden is Light kind of thing.  It must just be exhausting. And then we have friends who love the Lord and have a ton of knowledge about the Word but over the last several years have decided much of the Bible is not really relevant for today --or it doesn't mean what they thought it meant.  I get it... I do. And I'm not even saying that maybe over the centuries some things we believe now weren't actually what the original writer was trying to convey. 

But God, right?  It is His Word and He promises that while everything else may change or fall away --His Word never will. So there's that. 

I love this part: "So live your life in such a way that acknowledges that one day you will be judged." I think of how we may live our lives differently if we considered this... my guess is we would sin less, --but that is only half of the goal... the other part is to love more, right? James even goes on to tell us how to do that! (Something about Mercy...)


Our verses in The Amplified Bible say:

" For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you murder, you have become guilty of transgressing the [entire] Law. Speak and act [consistently] as people who are going to be judged by the law of liberty [that moral law that frees obedient Christians from the bondage of sin]. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; but [to the one who has shown mercy] mercy triumphs [victoriously] over judgment.." (The Amplified Bible)

Consistency can be our downfall. (Well - the lack of it, anyway!) If we would speak and act consistently we would avoid many of the troubles we find ourselves in. And if we would do that in following the 'moral law that frees obedient Christians from the bondage of sin' - well, again... we may just sin less.

I know... we don't love that word.  

"Obedient" is not really a word our Independent selves want to be used to describe us. But what James is pointing out is there is actually FREEDOM in following that moral law and it is a freedom that makes us more like Him... --Him, who has paid the price for our ransom and freed us from the bondage of sin! We are no longer under the Law... it's true and praise God!  But we should still let the Law guide us into living a life of --wait for it... Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost! (That's the Kingdom of God!)


Lastly, my other favorite translation: The Message Bible:

"You can’t pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God’s law and ignoring others. The same God who said, “Don’t commit adultery,” also said, “Don’t murder.” If you don’t commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you’re a murderer, period.

Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time." (The Message Bible)

The Message just tends to make things clearer... "For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time."

I can't say for you - but I will speak for me: I have heard (and have quoted!) that last part many, many, many times... but the first part comes first for a reason!

 I know that -again!- we have extremes in our culture and in the Church... and if you believe the mainstream media, you may think that we have never been more divided as a nation or as a people.  There are strong, solid, deep lines drawn in the sand making teams of "US!" and "THEM!"  I am also aware that for many years, the Church (Big C.) has not done a stellar job at acting kindly to outsiders or specific groups. So it is no real big surprise that we have not been treated kindly, right? 

I believe over the last decade, however, the pendulum swung and many in the Body embraced Grace, and Mercy, and Kindness on a whole new level.  This was SO NEEDED... it is still needed. It will always be needed because -well, this is the way of Jesus! 

But as James so often points out - the way of Jesus includes more than just these things. 

Jesus always pointed to Righteousness... to a 'go and sin no more' lifestyle... not because He is Bossy or religious, but because He loves us and wants what is best for us! 

So how do we take dominion over judgment? By showing Mercy! 

Mercy is defined as: "compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or a person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence." (Dictionary.com)

You guys!? Mercy is giving or showing compassion toward an offender or enemy? Imagine if we would all do this?

We are all so easily offended... and I've been preaching this for a while in these parts, but man... we need to (re)learn how to be Unoffendable! Being unoffendable sure does make it easier to dole out Mercy and avoid judgment! (I mean... just think of Jesus! He had EVERY REASON to take offense, and yet -consistently, He did not!)


Let's pray: 

Father God, 

 We come before You right now, so very grateful for the Mercy You so freely pour out over us! We are thankful that You came and fulfilled the Law and You took or place and paid the price of our ransom and that You lead the way in how to live a life that leads us right back to You!

Holy Spirit, help us to remember that we have been set free... that our old man is dead and buried and we are raised up with You... we are no longer bound to sin. Help us to not attempt to pick and choose which parts of the Word we want to follow and which ones we want to believe are not for today --or at least not for us! Remind us to match the way we talk with our actions and to live in a way that shows that we have been set free and grafted into the Family of God! 

 Empower and Enable us to live righteously - without being religious! Help us to act kindly... and to extend Mercy to those around us --especially those who disagree with or offend us! Help us to remember that mercy wins over harsh judgment every time! Help us to be unoffendable and to choose You... to love and speak and act like You... to re-present You to this world we live in... help us to point others to You and to reflect righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy ghost --for that's the Kingdom of God!

In Jesus' Name!


I hope you feel like you are getting something out of this series! I know I am! And, as I mentioned at the start above, even when I think of giving up on it --I know He asked me to write this -so, I press on! (Consistency... right? I'm working on consistency and a lack of follow-through!) 

Also, 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!

As always, until next time, let's purpose to:

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