Big Idea: A life of wisdom cannot be taken in bits and pieces.
Imagine a long, strong iron chain. It can lift tremendous weights and remain as strong as it has always been. Imagine now that someone has come with a file and weakened the chain. How many links must be broken until the chain is broken? Obviously just one. James teaches us that God’s Law is the same way. We can rightly say that murder is worse than lying and that in the chain of a moral life, murder is a larger, heavier link. But when either is broken, the whole Law is broken. Disobedience in one area of life is not an isolated problem, but one aspect of the basic sin of rebellion. The same God gave every command, and to disobey one is less about disobeying the command than it is about disobeying God. God is not a respecter of persons: one person who rebels in something scandalous and dramatic is not any less redeemable by God than the one who sinned by gossip and envy. Indeed, even the one who shows favoritism to the rich, the powerful, or the socially acceptable sinners has by their partiality shattered the whole law. We cannot follow God in one area of life when we are willfully disobedient in another.
If all sin is an expression of disobedience, then all righteousness can also be understood as diverse aspects of one thing: love (Galatians 5:14). Love is the distinguishing mark of a person who has been truly saved. Even the demons recognize God mentally, but to recognize Him in our hearts is to be changed. We need the same kind of faith that led Abraham to offer up Isaac, trusting that God would provide Himself a lamb. That’s the kind of faith that led Rahab to show hospitality to the spies and trust that God would use His people to show hospitality to her. The kind of faith that is alive shows itself in a holistic love. To live a real life of wisdom, we must let love for God and our neighbor shine through in every area of life.
Discussion Idea: Where are you tempted to show favoritism instead of godly love? How can you love someone that might seem unlovable in the next week?
Prayer Focus: Pray for the single-mindedness to love God with your whole heart.