The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 26
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
–James 4:11-12 (ESV)
Do not evaluate everything that happens, trying to figure out how it benefits you, spiritually or physically. It does not matter whether you can find a cause-and-effect relationship between events. What is important is the will of God, which can turn anything and everything into an efficient tool, used to form Jesus Christ in the depths of your heart. Do not try to find a rule that the divine will must follow. Do not put limits on it. It is all-powerful.
–Jean Pierre de Caussade
James 4:11-12 is a warning about judging other people, and speaking evil of them, in a way that sets your own personal judgment above the law of God. Even when you think you are in agreement with God’s law, you do not know everything God knows, and you can unwittingly promote yourself as a judge of his law, rather than an obedient subject.
There is a connection between this principle and what Jean Pierre de Caussade says here about evaluating the events of life to try to figure out how God is going to use them to your benefit. Not only does it direct your attention to your own self-interest, but it is incredibly presumptuous. What James said about God’s law can also be said about his will: you are either doing it or judging it.
You may be able to look back on some things and see that “God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). Thank God for such an insight, when he gives it. But don’t force it. Walk by faith, convinced that he means good because he is good, even when your pain and suffering make no sense at all.
The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.