Hi friend! Welcome to episode 17 of Tending Your Soul Podcast! I’m Mariel and I’m so happy you have set aside these few minutes with me as we tend our soul by the Word of God using my TEND method of Bible study.
The TEND method is an acronym to guide us along as we unfold the Word of God. We begin with T for take time to pray. So join me as we go to the throne of grace together.
Lord, we thank you for your word and for the gift it is as you speak through it to us and enable us then to respond in grace. Amen.
We have been walking slowly and intentionally through James 1 and today we come to James 1:25 as we near the end of this first chapter written by the half-brother of Jesus, for the believers in the Dispersion, who were being persecuted and divided. James was writing to encourage them and commission them to live out their faith, despite the persecution and difficulty they faced in their culture.
Let’s see what God through James has for us in this next verse.
If you remember from our previous episode, we tended through the verses leading up to this and saw the analogy James was painting for us in the example of a man who looked so intently into the mirror at his face but when we went away he quickly forgot what he had been looking at. James challenges his readers to combat this type of deception in their lives by being doers of the word rather than hearers only. By putting feet to our response, we press the truth of the Word deeper into the soil of our hearts.
This next verse is the flip side of what James had just said about the one who looks intently in the mirror and forgets when he walks away. And now verse 25.
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Don’t you love that name for God’s Word: the perfect law of liberty?
How often we think of liberty and freedom as that which has no constraints or rules? We think if only I could just do what I want then I’d be happy.
But after raising 2 boys and spending many years as Sunday school teacher to 3 and 4 years olds, I realized it didn’t take long till “doing what you want” turned into someone or something getting hurt or damaged in some way.
Doing whatever we want never leads to freedom, does it?
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us why this will never lead to real freedom. It says:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Our own heart and desires will only lead to bondage to addictions and slavery to passions that lead to death.
But the Word of God? Oh, that will never lead us wrong!
God’s Word and His character leads to liberty, purity and life. Walking in God’s ways is like a child who is playing on a playground near a busy road. When the fence is up, the boundaries offer greater freedom than a playground without a fence that threatens the child’s safety.
This verse urges us to persevere in this perfect law of liberty and promises us blessing when we do!
As we move from examining the scripture to noticing the lesson, God seems to be highlighting this lesson for us. When we persevere in the law of liberty, respond to it continually and keep pressing the seed of the Word into our lives, then God offers us blessing. Not in a name it claim it way, but in a real, tangible way. Blessing in God’s economy is not just temporary joys that are fleeting but real lasting blessing in intimacy with God Himself.
As we persevere in walking out obedience to His Word and enjoying the freedom of the boundaries of His law, then we are blessed by our awareness of God near us.
I love that it says the one who looks into this law of liberty and perseveres will be blessed. The visual I found when I dug deeper into the original meaning of the word translated looked into is a word that also means to stoop, to look intently at, peer into to look with head bowed and body bent forward to become acquainted with.
What a picture! It reminds me of when the disciples came to the empty tomb of Jesus and they stooped down and bent forward to look intently into the tomb because they couldn’t believe the miracle of a risen Savior!
As we look with that kind of awe into God’s Word consistently and then with perseverance apply it to our lives…and that perseverance is from a word meaning to abide or dwell with…so we abide with the Word of God and let it dwell in our lives, our thoughts, our actions. Then we will find blessing!
So as I turn this lesson into a question that I can respond to and do what it says, I ask myself:
How can I become better acquainted with the Word in order to be a doer of it? And also in what action do I need to persevere in today based on what the word tells me about God and about myself?
For me, in this season of launching my sons and in healing and transitions, I find that I need to persevere in trusting God more than in my own understanding. So today I will open-handly pray God’s Word over my sons and my husband and even my own heart and rely on God to hear and respond. I will, like Habakkuk then sit on the watchtower and wait to see how God will move in each of their lives, in His way in His timing.
How will you respond, friend? As you consider the perfect law of liberty and the boundaries it offers for your life, in what areas do you need to persevere and lean into the truth of God’s Word? What season are you currently walking through that demands perseverance?
Sometimes its perseverance of gentleness with ourselves, gracing our own hearts with intentional soul care. Take time to walk, read, pause, celebrate, give thanks…or maybe it is perseverance in forgiving someone, releasing expectations on someone or on yourself.
Whatever it might look like for you today, let’s ask God to guide us towards His best for us like the gentle, loving Shepherd He is.
Lord, thank you for the guidance you offer in your word. Thank you that like children at play, we have the boundaries you offer and when we bend towards your perfect law of liberty we are then blessed and refreshed by nearness to you. Amen.
Well, dear friend, I hope this slow walk through James 1 is tending your soul with truth and refocusing your mind. Don’t miss our last episode in James next time!
And if you are looking for a small online community to continue to cheer you on and encourage you in the Word, I want to invite you to consider Tending Together, my private online community on the Mighty Networks platform. You can find out details about it and how to hop in on my website: marieldavenport.com and click on Community at the top. I’ll drop a link for you in the show notes.
Well I look forward to gathering with you as we close out James 1 next time, until then keep tending your soul by the Word of God.