One of the highlights of this summer has been studying the book of James with about 12 women. If I had tried to plan a Bible study, it wouldn’t have happened. I was marveling the other day about how God really planned it and brought us together.
Earlier in the spring, three different friends had asked me about what I would be doing for Bible study this summer. Then I ran into my friend Sasha, and she was willing to do this James Bible study with me and help lead it. My mom was moving here and had the DVDs. We decided to just pray about it and see who God brought into our paths. I contacted the three friends, and then the rest of the ladies truly were people who entered our paths at exact moments. (Those are fun stories, too!) They range in age from 28 to 68, attend a variety of churches, and most of the women met each other here in the group!
This group has been such a blessing. This study has been wonderful!
A verse from this study that has stayed on my mind this last week was James 4:6a: “But He gives a greater grace….” I’m not sure exactly what to make of it in context or even out of context!
I’ve been intrigued by learning that James is much like the Proverbs of the New Testament with lots of wise sayings that often don’t seem connected (but upon further study, sometimes actually seem like they are). Is this statement (“But He gives a greater grace…”) simply one that stands alone and separate, or is it in some way connected?
I’ve also benefited from thinking through how the teachings in James mesh with and complement the teachings of Paul, despite a first glance that might make us think they could be contradictory. One writer focuses more on the works of our faith (James), while one stresses grace over works (Paul). Yet here, in the middle of the book of James, we see, “But He gives a greater grace…” It makes me think of this overarching grace over all our works, grace flowing down, the acknowledgement from James that grace really is greater than all our sins, all our works.
But I don’t know. I haven’t studied this in depth (nor did the study we’re doing), and I’m no theologian or scholar. But it has been running through my mind… grace, grace, grace… His grace is enough, it’s sufficient for all my sins. It’s greater than I know. It flows from the top down to me, not me working hard from the bottom up to earn it. It’s just flowing down on me. God’s grace. I don’t deserve it. I didn’t earn it. It covers me. It covers my sin. It’s greater than my shortcomings and my best efforts. For this I am so thankful.