April 26, 2013 | 0 Comments
At Christ Community, we are in the last half of our sermon series on the letter of James. James deals with a lot of real, practical issues facing Christians, but most recently we have been seeing what he has to say about wisdom. Greek thought, which dominated much of the world in which James ministered, taught that wisdom and knowledge were one in the same. In other words, if someone had a lot of head knowledge people would deem them wise. However, Hebrew teaching said that wisdom refers not just to what someone knows in their head, but also the ability to use that knowledge in a practical way that demonstrates love toward God and others.
As such, wisdom is something we need help in getting. God uses various people and circumstances in our lives to help us grow in wisdom. Not only that, but wisdom is something for which we need to ask God in our prayers as James says in chapter 1, verse 5 of his letter. To help us think about how we might ask God to give us the wisdom we all so desperately need, I have posted a prayer for Scotty Smith's (founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee) point us in that direction.
Dear heavenly Father, what a great Scripture to pray through today, reminding me of the brevity of life and the importance of wise choices. Though I have no desire to know the exact day or means by which you will take me home, I’m more committed to live with that day in view.
Because the gospel is true, I have no fear of dying. I really believe that to be absent from my body will mean that I am immediately present with you. The sting of my death has been removed. The grave has been robbed of its victory over me. I can honestly say with Paul that it is better by far to depart and be with the Lord (Phil. 1:23).
But until that departure, what’s the best investment of my remaining days and sweat, tears and laughter in this world? I’ve spent enough years bustling about in vanity, heaping up stuff that will only end up on the ash heap one Day. Should you give me one more, ten more, twenty-five more years, how the gospel of your kingdom and the riches of your grace claim and fill the span of those very brief years? I’ll never retire; but I do want to reframe, refocus and refuel.
Show me what to make a bigger deal about—and a lesser deal of? Of what things do I simply need to let go? Who should I be spending more time with or, quite honestly, less time with?
The two things which define the rest of history are your commitment to redeem your people through the gospel and your commitment to make all things new through Jesus. How do you want me to engage with both of those stories with my family, friends and church?
Father, give me greater love for people who don’t know Jesus. I spend a disproportionate amount of my time predominately with other Christians. Give me your welcoming heart for outsiders, unbelievers, skeptics—people who are foreigners to your grace. And help me live more intentionally as an agent of redemption and restoration in my community and city.
You are my hope and joy, peace and contentment, my passion and my delight… my everything. Free me more fully to live to the praise of your glorious grace and name. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ bold and beautiful name.