In which there are stepping stones on the yard

by Craig on April 19, 2011

You know how people have little stone paths leading up to their front door. Like this…

or this…

James, the brother of Our Lord, is world renowned for one verse. “Faith without works is dead”. But it’s not just this verse – the whole letter centers around that verse. And there are stepping stones leading to it.

This morning I thought about the steps leading to this door of James, and I looked back.

I’m not supposed to be person, “of two minds”. (1:9)

If I believe…

then just act like I believe…

pretty simple.

“Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” (1:22)

“Hearing” this word means I have to live it out,
not just listen to it,
not just know about it.
It’s the message firmly planted in the soil of my heart
and reflected in all the things I do.

And I looked back on more stepping stones and noticed something too:

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (1:26,27)

If I don’t do that one little thing,
keep watch over my tongue
I have a useless faith.

I have an impure religion
if I don’t care for the needy and vulnerable.

I have a defiled faith
if I don’t keep myself totally unstained by the world.

Stepping stones.

And if I’m judgy I set myself up in direct opposition to God and become a judge with “evil designs”. (2:4)

That’s no way to heaven

Then there is 2:8

“if you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.”

But two things here.

•    A partial fulfillment of the law never cuts it. Rolling stops at stops signs are still gonna get a ticket.

•    And the word “law” – it’s the word for the “whole” law. The word for a single commandment is different – and fits better here. I mean if I roll at the stop I don’t get ticket for murder. The rolling stop is a violation of that law – not the whole law. It’s either really bad Greek – or James is saying something.

And James is saying something

And 2:9 “But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

This one little sin convicts me of breaking the whole law – not just the single command?

These are all stepping stones on the way to verse 17 – the infamous “faith without works is dead” verse.

It’s all kind of dreary and extremely dangerous, this path to the door.


James knows of Grace.

I think he’s just telling me that if I tromp all over the front yard willy nilly, stomp on flowers, uproot bushes and then knock on the door…

that door may not be opened.

I’m supposed to walk on the steps, not mess up the landscaping.

I will, of course, not always stay on the path. Grace knows this. God knows this. James knows this. But my intention has to be bound to the path. I might step on an occasional flower, but I don’t intentionally go stomping with regularity on the flower bed.

These stepping stones have my attention

and there are more of them ahead.

And James isn’t going to be sensitive.

Buckle up everybody.

God Bless

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie April 20, 2011 at 12:49 am

I like the idea of stepping stones heading up to the door. It helps me to think of taking it one step at a time. And know if I fall off, there is grace, as long as I’m not blatantly ignoring those stepping stones. God bless your sensitivity to Him and to us!


Craig April 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I liked the pictures of the solid walkways – the ones made up of adjoining stones – that reminds me of grace too – even more than the single steps which are easy to miss. God bless you Deb – heart having you read me :)


Michelle April 20, 2011 at 4:42 am

Just another reminder from God lately to remain close to Him, listen to His voice , and journey where He is taking me. Even though it may be hard (and with a friend with cancer it will be), He’s already been there and I know He will give me what I need when I need.

So thanks for the reminder to stay to the path. :)


Craig April 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I just prayed for strength – for you – on the road you’re on with your friend – with Our Lord – glad we’re on the same path. God Bless you Michelle. God bless.


Lynnet April 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I think I must come back and reread this again when the distractions are few because I so needed this.

ps. I won’t tell anyone you stopped by and left a very encouraging comment about Princess Izzy’s new dress. No, I will not *cough* tell a soul about that, but I will tell a few friends about this post because it spoke right to my heart. Thank you.


Craig April 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm

First of all I have no idea what you’re talking about. Some comment on a dress? I’d never – ever do or say anything like that. *cough* You must have me mistaken with someone else. Second thank you for your kind words – thank you. They mean much to me – and God Bless you Lynett.


A. April 27, 2011 at 8:07 am

Craig, I am glad for the reminders about guarding the tongue and not tracking in mud from the world. I am committed to praying more and more for piggies. God says love your piggies and when I do, it helps my tongue.


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