I’m partial to ME. I rarely, maybe never, miss an opportunity to consider and go after what I think I want or need or might benefit from and often enough I do it so seamlessly. I am, afterall, a natural man. I am a sinner by nature and by occupation. I need a Savior. Romans 7:24 – ‘Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
But now I am a follower of Jesus Christ. He saved me and now everything is different. I am a new creation. I no longer live for myself. I no longer live for myself?! Really? Who is James talking to?
Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But – you have dishonored the poor man. (James 2:5-6)
It comes so naturally; we sidle up to those people and positions that seem to offer us what we’re partial to. But do we edge ourselves closer to the poor?
We can catch a glimpse of ourselves in this mirror James is holding up, can’t we? It’s not to say that we should drop everything and go serve the poor. That might be what God desires for us, but the world has folks who do the same, yet without the love of Christ as their motivation. Jesus said, “For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.” (Matthew 26:11 ESV)
But in our lives, do we ‘dishonor the poor man’? Is our agenda the same as the world… acquisition? Acquisition of stuff, status, security?
As I consider my own heart on this matter of partiality here in James 2, I am reminded of another group of people we too often don’t prefer to sidle up to in this world… but we ought to. Afterall, Yahweh does.
…But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2 ESV)
Consider who we look to and who we groom ourselves to look like because our natural man is partial to it.
Do we dishonor the poor man, the humble man, the spiritually contrite man, the man of God who trembles at His word?
Contrite… hmmm. Does the contrite man find our church gatherings a place of comfort and freedom to unload their burden of sin? When God has granted repentance… do we give sway to that work of His spirit in our assembly?