When you work in a building with two thousand people, you are bound to encounter an unpleasant conversation. If you keep your head up, you might have a flashback of high school as you dodge people in a crowded hallway, with some not paying attention to those around them. To avoid awkward situations, some may choose to keep their heads down, fixated on what lies ahead. Unfortunately, this decision will cause individuals to miss out on opportunities to serve others.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do, James 1:22-25.
The author of the book of James was Jesus’ younger brother. Since the Bible has an 18 year time gap between Jesus’ bar-mitz-vah and the beginning of his earthly ministry, we don’t know much about their relationship. However, Mark 3:20-35 unveils a shocking comment from members of Jesus’ family with James a likely unnamed source. After healing a demon possessed man, Jesus is accused of being mentally ill, using Satanic powers to drive out demons. This type of judgement comes from a head down, eyes straight ahead mentality. This mindset prevents individuals from recognizing the power of God at work in the lives of faithful servants.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, Hebrews 12:1-2.
Part of the passage above written by James serves as a confession. James was immature, going through the motions without putting the Bible into practice. At some point, James was convicted of his head down, eyes straight ahead life style. The author of Hebrews provides the cure for this condition. Using an analogy of a marathon, this advice encourages believers to run with perseverance, fixing your eyes on Jesus throughout the race called life. As the Holy Spirit transforms your perspective, the Lord will begin to help you see that distractions are opportunities to serve God. May this blog inspire you to slow down, look around and see how God can use you to serve others daily.
by Jay Mankus