James, leader of the church in Jerusalem and brother of Jesus, has to deal with a serious issue in the church, people. Yeah, if there were no people, the Church would be perfect. But it would also be perfectly useless because we are the hands, we are the feet, we are the voice of Christ. We have to be the Church. Without us, there is no Church.
Trouble is, we often struggle with our own issues, one of which is covetousness. We envy those who have stuff and really want to have that stuff. Those with stuff often then are very protective of their stuff and expect others to respect them and even honor them because they have stuff. James says to them, ‘Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.’ Wow! Do we really want all that stuff? But yet we do.
God is there to help. James says that the wisdom that helps us comes from God. That wisdom provides us with the good stuff that we really need; purity, “peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” That sounds so good, whereas the drive to get stuff of this world leads to “disorder and every evil practice.”
But how do we do that? James says, ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God…. Come near to God and he will come near to you.’ When we talk about moving to the center, that is what we are talking about, the desire to be closer to God and to live the lives God has called us. Then the amazing part happens. As we desire to be closer to God, God moves closer to us. Moving to the center in a sense is really the center, God, moving to us.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? -Psalms 42:1-2