Monday, April 28, 2014

Short devotion: The Royal Law - James 2:8

James 2:8       If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.
Yesterday, in the Sunday School class that I teach, we were discussing the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s probably the best known story that Jesus ever told so, throughout the class, the participants offered their personal ideas and opinions about the parable. It was a good way to share our faith beliefs together, and even though it was a fictional story, Jesus told it in such a way that even thousands of years later the heart of its message is still as relevant today as it was in His lifetime.

I also like how James described the teaching ‘loving your neighbor as yourself.’ He called it ‘the royal law.’ This doesn’t mean that it was only meant for kings and queens, princes or princesses; James meant that this came as a command straight for the heart of Christ our King. In other words, it’s meant to be taken and practiced seriously by those who consider themselves to be disciples, followers, and servants of Jesus.

Throughout this week, we will all have many opportunities to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves.’ The real test will come in whether or not we respond to the needs our neighbors have, or whether we will be too busy, causing us to walk by on the other side and discard the royal law. The great Chinese scholar Confucius once wrote, almost five hundred years before Christ, “To see what is right and not to do it, shows a want of courage.” For the Christian, to see what is right and not to do it, shows a want of faith.

Questions for personal reflection

What hinders me from helping others in need when I see it? How do I justify my inaction?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, truly teach us Your ways so that we may practice our faith in loving and compassionate deeds. Keep us from being fainthearted, and encourage us to witness to You through our acts of kindness and care. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, TN. If you would like to comment or ask a question about today’s message, please send John an email to

 Today’s image is one of John’s latest stained glass Pentecost designs called ‘Sacred Spirit.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link:

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