I have noticed that one of the best teaching techniques is to repeat the things that you are trying to emphasize. God’s Word is no different. God gives a principle, and then often repeats that same idea again, so we will be sure to get the idea. I have noticed that James uses this technique in his writings. There was a stern warning about the dangers of unchecked lust in our lives. That lust leads to sin. That sin leads to death eventually. It may not lead to physical death, but it certainly leads to spiritual death.
After James made that powerful point in James 1:15, he followed up with the verse I want to share with you today. “Do not err, my beloved brethren” (James 1:16). Six simple words from a man who loved those twelve tribes that had been scattered abroad. Six words used as a powerful reminder of the simplicity, but importance of staying true. I can almost hear the voice of God whispering this in my ear, as I am considering making the mistake of yielding to the lust and temptation that come to each of us.
Very simply, James warns … don’t make that mistake. Don’t yield to temptation. Don’t yield to the desires of your heart for anything that is outside the will of God. Don’t surrender your desire for whatever offers itself, when you know that doing that will require you stepping out of the perfect will of God. Don’t say that word you know would be hurtful or could become gossip. Don’t go to that place that could end up leading you down the wrong path. Don’t follow the advice of that person who is not Spirit-filled or led. James simply says, “do not err.”
The thought that comes to my heart as I read this verse is how little we need to move from what is right, to end up in a potentially disastrous situation. It doesn’t take a grand movement to get off course. Watching the Winter Olympics is proof of this point. A skier flying down the slope at incredible speed need only catch the tip of their ski on a slender pole (marking the course), for them to be disqualified from the race. A lifetime of practice can be for nothing in a spilt second, and because of one-inch movement in the wrong direction.
Today we need to hear the warning of James. Simple as those six words, are, we need to ingrain them in our thinking today, so we can please our Heavenly Father, and serve Him well today. We need to be cautious of the lusts that dwell within us. We need to fill ourselves with the Word of God so much that when those lusts desire control, the principles we have read will come to mind as well. Choose well today. Choose God’s plan!