Faith Liberates: The Freedom to Persevere
July 05, 2018
In verse 25, James gives us the picture of someone with true faith. This person does not treat Scripture with a cursory glance. Instead, he looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it. This word for looking intently is the same word that Luke used to describe how Peter looked into the empty tomb after the resurrection. He was searching, seeking understanding.
This is how we are to engage God’s Word. Remember, when you come to Scripture, you are doing much more than opening up an ancient text. You are communicating with the one true God who created you. Although He is almighty in every way, He makes Himself available for you to have a private audience with Him any time you desire. Let that reality sink in.
Why is it called the “perfect law”? After all, wasn’t the law insufficient to save us? Yes, but that is because it is impossible for man to keep. God’s Word is completely trustworthy and sufficient. But because of our sin, we had to have a Mediator who was able to keep the law on our behalf.
Note that James describes the law as the “law of freedom.” Why? Because when we submit to Christ’s authority and abide by the law that God has given us, we discover the redemptive power that frees us from our slavery to sin. Our minds are transformed, and we are able to know God’s good and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
Thankfully, James doesn’t just tell us to become a doer of the word; he shows us what that looks like. First, you look intently into the Scriptures. This means more than reading. You meditate on what it says. That could mean journaling about what you think it means. Or it could mean memorizing a portion of the text. It could be praying that text back to God and asking for understanding. But it certainly means more than letting your eyes pass over the words on the page, shutting the book, and moving on.
Second, you persevere in it. That means you don’t give up when you don’t understand what something means. You search for the truth. There are so many helpful resources online now that are completely free. You just have to take the time to search. (Make sure you check the source, however. If you’re not sure whether it’s reliable, take the time to ask a trusted pastor or teacher.)
Third, don’t forget what it says. Again, taking just a few minutes after you read to think about the meaning of the text will go a long way toward remembering what it said. Obviously, memorizing Scripture is the most effective way to do this.
Finally, do what it says. Apply the truths of Scripture to your life. Let it transform your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Ask yourself, “How should my life look different as a result of the truth I’ve just read?” Then, if changes need to be made, make them!
If you do these things, James says, you will be blessed. In God’s economy, someone who is truly blessed is someone whom God has fully satisfied. That doesn’t mean his circumstances are necessarily favorable, but he is satisfied because he has the power of Christ living inside him.
The perfect law of Christ is there to set us free. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (John 8:36, NIV).
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
This devotional was written and read by Leigh Ann Swords. Leigh Ann is the Missions Minister at the Church at Station Hill. You can read more about her here.