Lessons From James

I don’t talk much about the messages contained within the Christian Bible, mostly because I don’t want anyone thinking that I am only a spokesperson for that religion.  However, the Christian Bible is a good source of information on Power and how to tap into it for effective prayers.  One very powerful book of the Bible is the book of James.  This is a relatively small book in the back of the Bible, not far from the book of Revelations.  Only 5 chapters long, but packed with some intriguing messages.

The book of James speaks much on the proper focus of mind, to focus your mind on spiritual things and not on physical things.  This is the kind of focus necessary in order to tap into Spirit and its Power.  Some people see this book as saying that we should give up all physical pleasure and welcome hardship and suffering in our lives.  Although this is one possible interpretation, I do not believe that it is the correct one.

The most basic principle of Power is that it flows from your spiritual essence and creates the equivalent of your thoughts and feelings.  This is the way we humans were created.  “And God gave man dominion over the Earth”.

One of the problems that many people get into is that they focus on what they see; such as their problems, the obstacles to success, and the lack of what they desire; and by focusing on these things, they unconsciously direct Power to create more of these things.  They do not realize that their focus of mind directs Power to create future events and experiences.  James is trying to teach people to focus their minds on spiritual matters and on concepts of justice, fairness, generosity, and control.  Anyone who focuses on these things will be directing Power to create these conditions in their own lives, whether they are conscious of the process or not, and thus will have the quality of life improved.

In the first few verses of the 4th chapter, James mentions something about prayers not being answers because of having the ‘wrong motives’.  I think the ‘wrong motives’ that James is talking about here is the motive of gaining what is considered a limited supply.  This is the context in which the passage was written.  If you ask for money, thinking that there is a limited supply of money in the world, then your request is not granted because you have come from a position of limitation.  In the Step by Step course, I refer to this phenomenon as underlying assumptions.

The central message of the New Testament is that your mental focus must be right in order to receive answers to your prayers.  You must focus not on what is physical, but what is not physical and is spiritual in nature.  To focus on what is spiritual in nature doesn’t necessarily mean to deny the pleasures of life, but to realize that nothing is limited and God is the Source of all good things.  There is no reason to covet what another person has, because everyone can have all they want.  All through the Bible, the message is that God has given us everything we could ever want, including the Power to control the world as we see fit.

To focus on anything other than what is good or to focus on the physical world as the Source of anything is the only true sin.  The other main message is that guilt will block your spiritual connection so that your prayers will not be answered, and you should do whatever it takes to relieve your guilt, which may be as simple as giving it up.  “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.”

There is strong wisdom in the concept of controlling your desires, however, since spending all of your time with them will prevent you from doing good work for others.  This is another message in the phrase from the book of James about motive.  When you are trying to serve others, you receive more freely, but when you are only out for yourself, you will not receive freely.

I like Wayne Dyer’s explanation of this.  If you are constantly asking the universe (God) “what can you give me?”, the universe will constantly ask you what can you give.  But if you are constantly asking the universe “what can I give?”, then the universe will constantly be giving to you.  Some people call this karma or the Law of Cause and Effect.  I see this as the Power of Spirit simply magnifying the focus of your mind.

On the practical side, it works like this.  When someone comes up to you with an attitude of trying to sell you something so they can take your money, you will push them away quickly without looking at what they have.  But if someone else comes up to you with obvious interest in helping you get what you want, you will look and possibly purchase what they have, even though it may be the same thing.

This is why commercial advertising and marketing is starting to take radical shifts to a more personal approach.  It simply works better.  If you’ve ever worked as a salesperson, you may have noticed that when you are focused on trying to help people, you sell more.  But if you are focused on making your commissions, sales elude you.