If this book doesn’t speak to you, nothing will! I am going to keep this contextual and let your Holy Spirit make it personal.
In the overview last night I pointed out the author is Jesus’ brother (half-brother-different fathers 😁). However, that is NOT how he introduced himself:
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, (not his brother)
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: (speaking to the Jewish Christian or Christian Jews)
Trials and Temptations
The two biggest trials they faced during this time is poverty and persecution. However, apply it personally. This book is about producing strong, mature, unshakable believers. (raise your hand if that is your desire). Christians must take a distinctively Christain perspective on life.
First and foremost: if you want to face trials in a Christian manner-ask the Lord for Wisdom (this can ONLY be gained from the Lord). An analogy is given about a person being “a wave at sea”-one day up, one day down. Unstable. Forever in motion. Divided. Double-minded! (Living in God’s will one minute and the World the next)
Test verse Temptation. Very different!
- The Lord tests us. He never tempts us.
- OUR own desires tempts us.
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
You do not doubt that if you stepped outside on a clear night that there would be stars in the sky, so do not think that the God who places them there changes either. If you have read since Genesis you have read that He is the same in this book as He was “In the beginning”.
Listening and Doing
If the seed of the Word is planted in you, then it will grow if the soil is right. If you are not bearing fruit-it is a soil issue, not a seed issue!
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Ready for the kick in the shins Patricia Szymanski?
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves and their religion is worthless.
Favoritism- the best way I can wrap my brain around this is actually through “judging”. How we see someone is not how God sees someone. How quick we are to “rank” Christianity in others. We make assumptions about the way they dress, their church attendance, how we see them spend their money. We are called to love.
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Faith and Deeds
19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
Even demons know theology. They have intellectual faith. But someone who says they have faith-without deeds (fruit on the vine). Is bogus faith. Listen, I don’t mean to sound harsh at all BUT Faith without deeds is dead faith. If you have “heart faith”. Real Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you will have evidence in your Salvation.
Do you see how James layers each precept so they all work together? Trials, Testing, No Favoritism, and a Faith with Deeds
- Abraham- the Father of the Jewish nation illustrated faith and works by obedience.
Verse 25 says: “In the same way”
- Rehab the Prostitute was considered righteous proved through her obedience in Joshua 2 when she hid the spies.
Taming the Tongue
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
Ummmm, after reading that…this will be the last post of the year. 😂 Just kidding. James is NOT discouraging people to teach God’s word. He is emphasizing the heavy responsibility involved if you are going to teach God’s word. By they way-I am going to take this one step further- Have you heard people take a scripture out of context or misuse it? It is no different. We need to be very careful.
God KNOWS the taming of the tongue is hard! He tells us how hard it is! It is easier to take the wild animals he created than the tongue.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
BUT that is not a free pass.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
There are 2 kinds of wisdom- only one comes from the Lord. If you have ‘wisdom’ in a matter that brings selfish ambition-that was not from the Lord. His is: peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Submit Yourselves to God
Wow, James’ letter took a turn. He went from ” My Brothers and Sisters” to “You adulterous people”. He is talking to believers-the Bride of Christ! If we flirt with the world-we are committing spiritual adultery against the Lord.
- Resist the devil and come near to God and He will come near to you!
- Wash your hands of sin-Repent (turn away) from worldly desires
- Change your laughter to mourning- grieve over sin. Let your heartbreak for what breaks HIs.
- Humble yourselves-and He will lift you up.
Verse 11-back to “Brothers and Sister” AND back to controlling your tongue! False accusations, slander, gossip is rebelling against the Lord.
Boasting About Tomorrow
James (and the Lord) have nothing against making plans. It is about the arrogance of thinking you are at the wheel (Even Carrie Underwood knows that!) We need to place our plans and hopes at the feet of the Lord and have faith that if it is His will-they will happen. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
The sin committed when we think we are in control is called Arrogance.
Warning to Rich Oppressors
This passage is not about the rich- it is about the rich oppressors.
- They hoard their wealth and failed to use it to help the poor.
- They failed to pay their laborers what is owed
- They lived self-indulgent lives while those who needed were ignored
- They used their money for social and political influence
Patience in Suffering
11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Seems like years ago we read the Book of Job. Talk about Suffering! And in the end, Job NEVER gave up on God. He persevered through a very long trial. We are encouraged to do the same.
The Prayer of Faith
- If you are in trouble…pray
- If you are blessed…pray
- Have others pray for you
- Confess your sins
- As other believers to pray for you
- Pray with perseverance (Elijah did!)
- Share the Gospel so that others may be saved from death!