Drawing Near : daily readings for the month of June
June 01 | Examining Your Faith
Our studies this month center on James 1:19–2:26, which deals with the issue of true faith—a most important consideration indeed. Knowing your faith is genuine is a wonderful assurance, but thinking you’re saved when you’re not is the most frightening deception imaginable. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus speaks of those who call Him Lord and even...
June 02 | Receiving the Word
The key word in today’s passage is “receive” (James 1:21). Believers are to receive God’s Word. That’s what distinguishes them from unbelievers. Jesus said to a group of religious unbelievers, “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. . . .
June 03 | Being Quick to Hear
It has been well said that either God’s Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from God’s Word. Apparently some of James’s readers were allowing sin to keep them from receiving the Word as they should. God was allowing them to experience various trials so their joy and spiritual endurance would...
June 04 | Being Slow to Speak
It is reported that when the Scottish Reformer John Knox was called to preach, he shed many tears and withdrew to the privacy of his room. He was grieved and greatly troubled at the prospect of such an awesome responsibility. Only the compelling grace of the Holy Spirit Himself enabled Knox to fulfill his calling.
June 05 | Being Slow to Anger
Have you ever started reading your Bible, thinking everything was fine between you and the Lord, only to have the Word suddenly cut deep into your soul to expose some sin you had neglected or tried to hide? That commonly happens because God seeks to purge sin in His children. The Holy Spirit uses the...
June 06 | Receiving the Word in Purity
When the psalmist said, “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word” (Ps. 119:101), he was acknowledging a key principle of spiritual growth: you must set aside sin if you expect to benefit from God’s Word. Peter expressed the same thought when he said, “Putting aside all malice...
June 07 | Receiving the Word in Humility
Scripture speaks of a past, present, and future aspect of salvation. You have been saved from the penalty of sin (salvation), are being saved from the power of sin (sanctification), and will ultimately be saved from the presence of sin (glorification). At first glance James 1:21 may sound like it’s written to unbelievers, urging them...
June 08 | Being a Doer of the Word
Effective Bible study is built on three key questions: What does the Bible say? What does it mean? How does it apply to my life? Each of those questions is important, but applying the Word must always be the highest goal. Knowledge without application is useless.
June 09 | Avoiding Spiritual Delusion
Matthew 7:21-23 records the tragic results of spiritual delusion. Jesus says, “Not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father, who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your...
June 11: Gazing into the Perfect Law
James 1:21-24 contrasts hearers of the Word and doers of the Word. Hearers don’t respond to Scripture or benefit from its truths, though they may study it in depth. Doers receive it in humility and obey its commands. James 1:25 adds that they are “blessed” in what they do. That means there is blessing in...
June 12: Persevering in the Word
The phrase “and abides by it” in James 1:25 demands our close attention. “Abide” translates a Greek word that means “to stay beside,” “to remain,” or “to continue.” The idea is that a doer of the Word continually and habitually gazes into God’s perfect law. In other words, he is a persevering learner.
June 13: Speaking from a Pure Heart
In verse 22 James talked about the delusion of hearing the Word without obeying it. Here he talks about the deception of external religious activity without internal purity of heart.
June 14: Defining True Religion
In this verse James continues his practical and penetrating assessment of true faith. So far he has said in effect, “Don’t just study the Bible—obey it! Don’t just dabble in external religion—have pure speech!” Now he adds, “Don’t just say you’re religious—demonstrate sacrificial love! Don’t just claim to love God—live a pure life!”
June 16: Taking Spiritual Inventory
Keeping yourself “unstained by the world” is an important test of your spiritual condition. The Apostle John said, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). At first glance that might sound contradictory since God...
June 17: The Impartiality of God
People are prone to treat others differently based upon external criteria such as looks, possessions, or social status, but God is utterly impartial. He never shows favoritism and always judges righteously.
June 18: Looking Beyond Externals
Jesus is “our glorious Lord” (James 2:1)—the Sovereign One who rules over all His creation, the One in whom the fullness of God’s glory is revealed. John said, “The Word [Jesus] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and...
June 19: Ministering to the Poor
Partiality is an age-old problem that exists in almost every area of life. Perhaps its most common manifestations are racial, religious, and socioeconomic discrimination. By implication James denounced partiality in any form, but in James 2:2-4 he specifically mentions preferential treatment of the rich over the poor.
June 20: Guarding Your Motives
The story is told of a pastor who never ministered to an individual or family in his church without first checking a current record of their financial contributions. The more generous they were with their money, the more generous he was with his time.
June 21: God’s Choice of the Poor
Wealth and poverty are not necessarily spiritual issues. Many wealthy people are godly Christians, and many poor people are unbelievers. But generally speaking, God has chosen poor people to populate His Kingdom. Jesus said, “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
June 22: Siding with God’s Enemies
Favoritism has a way of blinding its victims to reality. James wrote about Christians who were trying to impress a rich man so they could benefit from his wealth and social status (vv. 2-3). The rich man represented the enemies of Christ, and yet they gave him preferential treatment anyway.
June 23: Fulfilling the Royal Law
In Matthew 22:36 a lawyer asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest. Jesus answered, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
June 24: Transgressing the Royal Law
Many people attempt to justify their sinfulness by categorizing sins according to their apparent severity. For example, telling a “little white lie” isn’t as serious to them as committing perjury; cheating on their income tax isn’t as serious as robbing a bank. Others see God’s law as a series of detached injunctions and assume they...