Daily Devotionals

Pressure Point Week 1: Monday

This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the "twelve tribes"-Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings! James 1:1

How would you describe yourself in one word? Maybe you would describe yourself by your occupation, your role as a parent, or one of your hobbies or skill sets. The answer to this question gives us a bird's eye view of where our values and priorities lie. Today, we will look at how James, the half-brother of Jesus, described himself when he wrote the New Testament book of James.

James began writing the book of James by introducing himself, just like many letters written today begin with an introduction. For his introduction, he wrote, "this letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (verse 1). Think about this introduction for a moment. James could have introduced himself in so many ways. He could have emphasized the fact that he was the half-brother of Jesus. He could have listed his greatest accomplishments. Instead, James began his letter by referring to himself as a "slave of God." Other translations of the Bible translate this as "servant" of God. James wanted his readers to immediately know that he was God's servant. That was how he described himself. He saw himself as God's servant. This understanding must have impacted all areas of his life and ministry. After all, when you serve God, you say "no" to serving everything else. Jesus said it this way in Luke 16:8, "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other." In this verse, Jesus spoke about the inability to serve God and money, but His teaching applies to every area of our lives. God calls us to live with undivided loyalty and serve Him only. That is what it means to be a servant of God.

Take a few moments to evaluate your life. Who, or what, are you serving? If you need help, think about what you invest in and what occupies your thoughts. Think about what motivates you as you make decisions. If you are serving anything but God, it is time to let go and turn to Him. After all, He is the only one deserving of our full service and devotion.

Moving toward action

Pull out your journal or a notebook. Write down the word servant. Look up the dictionary of “servant.” Then, write what it would like for you specifically to be a person who serves God and His people well. Think of one way you can be a servant today and then set out to do that!

Going Deeper

Luke 16:1-15

"Jesus told this story to his disciples: "There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer's money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, 'What's this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.'

3 "The manager thought to himself, 'Now what? My boss has fired me. I don't have the strength to dig ditches, and I'm too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I'll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.'

5 "So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, 'How much do you owe him?' 6 The man replied, 'I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.' So the manager told him, 'Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.'

7 "'And how much do you owe my employer?' he asked the next man. 'I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,' was the reply. 'Here,' the manager said, 'take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.'

8 "The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. 9 Here's the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.

10 "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people's things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

13 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money."

14 The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him. 15 Then he said to them, "You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God."