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Grace

Grace

Words of Faith 4-29-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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James 2:8-11

       [8] If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. [9] But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. [10] For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. [11] For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

 

     My guess is that James had seen it all.  He had grown up in the small town of Nazareth.  Watched his brother rise from obscurity to meteoric fame, and then end in a tragic death.  Then James personally met Jesus in resurrection reality. 

     That new beginning brought James to the big city to be a key leader in the first "mother church" in Jerusalem.  He saw the disputes between the first Messianic believers, the "in town" believers, and the "out of town" believers, the Jerusalem Jews, and the Greek Jews.  He had navigated the struggles between the "charter followers" of Jesus and the new converts.  One thing he knew for sure: no favorites. 

       James had learned that playing favorites just did not fit this Kingdom message, which is not based on color, ethnic origin, rich or poor.  Jesus would have had no place for such a thing.  Neither would James.  No favorites.

      Favoritism really is one of the oldest family games.  Abraham and Sarah rushed family plans and then rejected Ishmael in favor of Isaac.  In the next generation, Isaac favored Esau while Rebekah favored Jacob.  Harmless family struggles, right?  Wrong.  Just ask some of the people in Israel who are still sorting it out with rocks, tear gas, rockets, and tanks.  These are the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael, Esau and Jacob.  Favoritism is a sin that ends in agony.

       That is easy to see.  But where do we play our favorites? Is it in family relationships?  Or church relationships?  Are some on our good list and some on our bad?  Are there cliques and circles?  Is there an "in crowd" and an "out crowd"?  Or do we just play favorites with our self?  Is everything evaluated in terms of "me"?  Isn't good old-fashioned self-interest is the original form of favoritism?

       James has such a simple instruction.  It is exactly what Jesus said. The extension of our love for God is to love your neighbor as yourself.  Favoritism is not found in treating others well or in treating yourself well, but in failing to treat everyone with value.  When we fail to love as we would all desire to be loved, we fall into favoritism.  Favoritism is overcome when we treat everyone with the favor of God.  That is not favoritism; it is grace.

 

      Lord, who have I been missing?  Overlooking in my quest to share Your love?  Help me to see the blind spots and share Your love today in places I have been missing. Teach me to be a person of grace who shares God's favor.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2009, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of

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