1 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude ofpersonal favoritism.
I’ve decided to look up the amplified version of this verse today just to get a little different angle and a little more depth of what James is trying to say here: 1MY BRETHREN, pay no servile regard to people [show no prejudice, no partiality]. Do not [attempt to] hold and practice the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ [the Lord] of glory [together with snobbery]!
My study bible breaks it down saying, “we should not show favoritism to people of wealth or fame who might come into the congregation.”
As I skim ahead, I see James describing this further and the consequences of such. I’d like to stick with just this verse today though because I think it can apply to many aspects of our lives. Think about what favoritism breeds. It breeds hurtfulness to those who are regarded in lesser terms. It breeds a feeling of deserving in those who are shown favor. It breeds a sense of self serving ambition in the one showing favoritism. All of these are not things that worship God, rather serve worldly, short term purposes (in regards to our eternal lives).
As doers of the word, what would this show the unbeliever or the seeker? It would show that only the famous or wealthy or worldly esteemed are worthy of God’s grace and mercy. However, we know this is the contrary. In fact, Christ told us that “the first will be last and the last will be first”. Of course, there’s always the self justification of “I’m helping others be first.” But we all can see right through that. What I’m talking about here is how this behavior does not further the kingdom of God, rather it gives a false impression of what God is really about. No wonder so many people shun and avoid the church, because we act like a bunch of jerks!
Rather, our favoritism should be towards all equally in spite of ourselves. We should show favoritism over our own desires to those who seem least deserving. Remember, this is how we live a life worth questioning so that when we stand out and are noted as having a “Way” about us, others will ask why we are so different and then we can tell them, “Because of Christ”.
How do we show self serving favoritism? Do we only speak with “believers” or “friends”? Why not show favoritism to someone who has never been favored? If we are to be like Christ and be the church, then we must break free from our comfort zones and be what the world doesn’t expect us to be. Everyone shows favoritism to the wealthy, famous, properly dressed, etc. What about the guy who doesn’t expect to be treated that way?