How do you Identify Yourself? – James 1
“1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Greetings.” James 1:1 NIV
When you introduce yourself, how do you identify yourself? Father? Mother? Brother? Uncle? Sister? Doctor? Officer? Colonel? Mr.? Mrs.? Pastor?
Having just started working at the Department of Public Safety, I have been given a cool shiny badge to identify myself when dealing with offenders, law enforcement officers, and the community. But is that how I am to be identified?
As we begin a new study in the Book of James, it is interesting to see how the author of the book identifies himself. We know that the James who wrote this letter is not the brother of John. The James who wrote this letter is actually the half brother of Jesus Christ Himself!
How would you introduce and identify yourself if you were the brother of Jesus? If I were James, I might have identified myself as “James, the brother of the Son of God.” Maybe I’d go with, “Saint James, the son of Mary the Mother of Jesus.”
James, instead comes with a strong sense of humility. He identifies himself as, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He doesn’t pull rank. He identifies himself instead as a servant. He doesn’t elevate himself. He elevates Jesus. He doesn’t identify himself a saint, a pastor, a pope, a teacher, a church leader, or an apostle. James, who we will see as we study this letter, is a straight-shooter, simply refers to himself as a “servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
A colleague at work who earned his doctor’s degree recently told me that when I refer to him in a professional capacity, he should be called Doctor. I jokingly told him that when I get my Master’s Degree, he can refer to me as Master.
I am reminded by James today that in the Kingdom of God, titles such as Senior Officer, Doctor, Leader, Judge, or even Master, will hold little importance… if any. The greatest title that he could identify with is rather, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” That by the way, is the greatest title I could have as well.
James reminds me that the Kingdom of God does not concern itself with rank, titles, positions, degrees, or vocations. We all have the same standing at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. There are none inherently greater or is less when we stand before the King of Kings. The Kingdom of God is advanced, built, and influenced most by people who know their true identity and role as being, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” All other titles will fade and tarnish. All other degrees will pass away. All other ranks will be forfeited at some point in the future.
I am reminded today Lord that my title is simply “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This world values leadership titles, positions, occupations, and prestige. Holy Spirit thank You for the reminder today of the simple call to be a servant. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.