I’m concluding today’s sermon on James 3:1-12 with this prayer. It nicely captures the themes I’m preaching in today’s sermon—and reflects what’s on my heart. Consider this a sneak preview!
Lord, I know that what you’re telling me to do through your Word is hard. I know that all your words about denying myself, and putting other people’s interests ahead of my own, and giving away so much of my time and money to serve you; making prayer a top priority in my life; keeping myself sexually pure; loving my enemies; taming my tongue, sharing the gospel with others; reaching out in love to the least among us—I know that all these things are hard. And they don’t come naturally to me. But I’m going to do them anyway. Because the idea of not doing them, which means failing to obey you, is out of the question. It’s unthinkable.
I repent of the ways I’ve often failed to take your Word seriously in the past. I repent of all my sin. I know that I will still stumble, as James says in verse 2 of today’s scripture. But when I do, by the power of your Spirit, I’m going to repent, and get right back to serving you.
I’m not obeying you because I believe that by doing so I’m earning your favor, earning my way into heaven. I don’t need to earn it; you’ve made me a child of God by your grace alone; not because of anything I’ve done.
Instead, I’m going to do all these things out of gratitude for what you’ve done for me and because I trust that you know best. Only help me trust you more!
Thank you, Jesus. Amen.