James has been encouraging us to be patient – with our problems, with the Lord, and with our fellow Christians. He highlighted two Old Testament examples of patience: the prophets and Job. As you read today’s verse, try to answer two questions. (1) What does this have to do with patience? (2) Where have we heard this before?
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. (James 5:12)
What does this have to do with patience? When we get into trouble, it is easy to say things we don’t really mean, and to make promises we don’t intend to keep. Some people will even try to make bargains with God.
In Jesus’ day, it was common for people to make oaths. If they made the oath in God’s Name, they tried not to break it, so if they didn’t want to have to keep their oath, they swore by something else. Jesus addressed this problem in His Sermon on the Mount. If you read Matthew 5:33-37, you will notice that it sounds very similar to what James wrote.
James was simply repeating the teaching of his Big Brother. They were not saying it is wrong to swear an oath in a court of law. (Even Jesus agreed to do that when He was on trial.) They were simply saying that Christians should be men and women of their word.
Today’s Good News is that communication is a lot simpler when we just let our yes be yes, and our no be no.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you have missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.