I’m teaching a bit from the book of James for a group this Sunday night…because I want to get the context right, I’ve decided to read through the whole book a bit.
I was surprised when I came to 5:12…
“But above all , my brothers, do not swear eitehr by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.”
The context of this is James writing about wisdom, patience, and righteousness. But he says ‘above all’ be true to your word. Be a person of integrity. When you say that you are going to do something, do it. Don’t swear by anything else, but just do what you say you’ll do.
‘So that you won’t fall under condemnation’…I think that James is realizing that a true wise person will live in a way where people can’t accuse them of any wrong doing because of the ‘rightness’ of their lives.
I really want to be this way…Not because I simply want to not be accused of anything (Jesus made it clear that all righteous people will be misunderstood to a degree and accused of things), but I want to be a person whose heart is settled (established as James puts it in 5:8) and has the ability to be sure in my yeses and no’s.
Now that I type it out…I’m realizing that this is a major theme of James…Be a mature, settled, diligent, faithful, and wise servant of Jesus. It’s out of this quiet confidence that God produces the character that He can work with…