James – the Ever Unsettling One

I’ve been reading through James with an online devotional, but have found myself a little disappointed in their content. Since I somehow managed to have myself ready for work an entire hour early this morning, I dove in a little bit on my own.

(I’m taking a quick moment to praise the Lord for that small phenomenon. You all have been no strangers to my post-Race struggles.)

I read two things that stuck with me this morning. The first, a lifter of that awful all-I’ve-done-wrong burden: Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom. For judgement is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.

Real quick: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. We need to walk like it – unburdened.


The second passage that stuck out to me made me uncomfortable. I’m still not sure where to go with it.
If a brother or sister is without clothes & lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself. James 2:18-19

But really though – does this mean I need to get rid of all my stuff? that just praying for someone isn’t enough? that I need to start being more proactive?

I was talking to a friend of mine this morning about this and told her that if I start getting rid of everything, I won’t be able to work and if I can’t work, I can’t pay bills. But, is that putting God in a box? What constitutes “enough” in the giving department? What does “give them what the body needs” look like in my daily American life? Because surely I don’t have to travel the world or live in another country to speak and act as one who will be judged by freedom – to give out of the abundant mercy & freedom I’ve been given. 

So, do I start giving away my things? My car, my bed, my clothes, even? What does “fully trusting God” look like in a society that demands we save some for ourselves? What does giving it all away look like in the context of also taking care of me, like I’m so often told?