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Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2:2-4

Read: James 2:1-13
Listen: James 2


To his scattered, persecuted congregation, James writes about how making faith real will shape what they say, do and care about. Playing favorites goes against the way of Jesus. James says giving special attention to those with money while marginalizing those who are poor is hugely inconsistent with real faith.

Playing favorites can be based on popularity, finances, career advancement or ability. We know we’re playing favorites when we look at someone and think, “How can this person benefit me? How can they make me look good?” To stop playing favorites, we need to focus on Jesus and remember what he did for us. This includes “redemption and forgiveness” (Ephesians 1:7) when we deserved punishment for our sins (Ephesians 2:3). Offering no benefits for himself at all, Jesus made it possible for us to be welcomed into God’s family. As we understand the good news of Jesus, we start to treat people differently.

TODAY: Pray a prayer of openness about your attitude towards those you are tempted to avoid or ignore. Wrestle with your broken humanity and how you can interact in a Christlike way with everyone you meet.


Read Luke 20. Highlight anything that refers to the Old Testament and how Jesus fulfills it. Note the Old Testament passages Jesus quotes and refers to.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.