November 29, 2018

Ghosts and Corpses

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 29, 2018

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22 (NIV)

I recently heard a pastor make a fascinating observation about the church. They said so often our churches are either filled with ghosts or with corpses. A church of ghosts cares only about the spiritual realities of our faith. They tend to the interior life, focusing on prayer and doctrine, yet rarely see the way in which this is meant to affect their bodies, their relationships, and their physical engagement with the surrounding community. On the other hand, a church filled with corpses cares only for the physical dimensions of life without ever attending to spiritual health and growth. They may be incredibly engaged socially, serving the neediest of the needy, yet fail to cultivate a flourishing life with God that is daily renewed by the inner work of the Holy Spirit.

Centuries ago, our brother James boldly wrote against the “ghost and corpse mindset” and instead encouraged a robustly integrated life. James took the teaching of our Christian faith incredibly seriously. Not once did he discourage his listeners from pursuing a deeper knowledge of our faith. Yet he knew a profound truth: our growth in the knowledge of God must result in a life transformed by the grace of God. In fact, he’s bold enough to say that if we fail to do so, our “religion is worthless” (James 1:26).

Where do you find yourself today? Have you lived most of your life as a spiritual ghost? Do you view your Christian faith primarily as an intellectual exercise? Or do you serve so devoutly that you never make time for personal prayer and refreshment in God’s presence? Do you see it as a superfluous pursuit that takes away valuable time from your mission and calling? Chances are you likely default to one side or the other.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).

Take seriously James’ call to an integrated, flourishing faith. If God is who he says that he is, then you and I will never exhaust our knowledge or understanding of him. We must spend our entire lives pursuing a deeper knowledge of his goodness and love. And yet that deeper knowledge also opens us to his justice and is an invitation for us to collaborate with him in radical service and sacrifice. The more we know and encounter his love, the more we will turn outward towards the most vulnerable and marginalized in our world, serving them boldly and faithfully, just as we have been served and renewed by the Lord.


Father, help us receive these words from Scripture and take a step today, by your grace, towards an integrated and faithful life. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Consider supporting a ministry, such as Lifeline Children’s Services, that exists to encourage Christians to take the biblical call to care for orphans and widows seriously.

Related Reading

Joel 2:13; Romans 12:2; Acts 3:19

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Our growth in the knowledge of God must result in a life transformed by the grace of God. #WisdomHunters #ghosts

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  1. Cheryl says:

    Thanks to all who has made Widom Hunters possible. It has helped me where genuine relative support is not available in my area as i would like. I know that finance is a common way to support a goal and I regularly respond to this, but if there is anything else i can do to help the ministry please let me know.
    God bless you all

  2. Gwynne says:

    Dear Cheryl,
    Oh my goodness, thank you for your kind words and your support of the Wisdom Hunter’s Ministry. We are so grateful that the devotionals have blessed you and hope they will continue to do so. We give all the glory to our heavenly Father when the words HE wants you to see come to you at the time that they do (His Perfect Timing).
    You asked if there was something else you could do for us, other than your financial support (and we are so thankful for that) and yes, there is. As part of our Wisdom Hunter’s family, could you pray for the ministry as we begin the new year? Please pray that that the devotionals will bless and encourage those that need the encouragement and that we will continue to honor and glorify God in all we do. Your prayers mean a lot.
    Thank you Cheryl. May God bless you and keep you in this precious season of celebrating His Son’s birth and in the new year.
    Merry Christmas,
    “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An Ange of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”
    Luke 2: 8-10

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