James 2:13
For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Observation-What does it say?  The author of this letter is James, who is most likely the brother of Jesus.  This letter covers a range of topics regarding Christian conduct, most of which are shown in contrast: rich and poor, pride and humility, faith and works.  In the second chapter, we are presented with a warning on our treatment of others and alternative to judgement  James reminds us, in a more plain dialect, of what Jesus told us in the parable of the Laborers Vineyard:  The first shall be last and the last shall be first. (Matthew 20:1-16)
After giving us fair warning of how we should treat those less fortunate than us, and be wary of showing favoritism on the basis of wealth, we are told how we might practically live out our life of faith.  We do this by putting action to the love we claim. In doing this, we will be more prone to see people through the lens of Christ’s love.  

Understanding-What does it mean?  I sat, listening to a conversation between two family members, as they discussed a recent interview for a job.  The interview had not gone as planned, and one of the subjects discussed was outfit choice for the outfit. The interviewee had decided, against sage advice, to wear jeans and a t-shirt to the interview.  When asked about this decision, they stated, “I don’t want to change who I am to get a job.”  
As I pondered this statement, I considered my attitude in coming to Jesus and how it was much the same.  What I show in my actions speaks much to the same tone, “Jesus, I love you, but I don’t want to change.” But, we know that we are, by nature, prone to sin and thus a natural enemy towards Jesus.  Acting out our faith, and loving those who we don’t naturally want to love, causes a change in our heart, thus allowing God to perfect us daily.  
In my day to day life, I need to go about the business of caring for those less fortunate than me.  In doing this, I am practicing the change I claim to desire from my relationship with Jesus. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

Life Application  Jesus, help me to learn to let go of my sinful self.  Put me in places where I will be challenged to love in a sacrificial way.  In being obedient to giving and loving in a sacrificial way, I trust you are changing my will to be your will.  
-Tyler Galloway