Obeying the law is black and white. The rules are the rules, and we cannot choose which laws to obey and which to ignore. If you choose to obey the speed limit, but neglect to wear a seatbelt, you are still breaking the law. Similarly, we do not get the luxury of choosing to follow only the parts of the Bible we like.
The book of James is a letter from Jesus’ brother to the early church in Jerusalem about the hypocrisy happening among Christians. Like a lot of us today, the people of the early church struggled with committing every part of their lives to Jesus. They welcomed Jesus’ teaching on grace and salvation but seemed to be ignoring His instructions on how to treat others. Those who were wealthy and had titles were being given special treatment, while those who were poor were easily dismissed.
For these early Christians, loving your neighbor as yourself did not come naturally (James 2:8). And if we’re being honest, treating others equally does not come naturally to us either. Our natural inclination is selfishness. We impress those we want to be like while brushing off the needs in front of us as “not my problem.”
Treating our bosses as we would want to do be treated makes sense. But what about the guy on the corner asking for help? Or the family next door with the overgrown grass and unruly kids? What does loving those neighbors get us in return? A life that better represents Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t call us to follow the commands that are easy; He calls us to follow them all. Our spiritual lives progress most when we listen to God's Word and follow it wholeheartedly.
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