We have just completed a 45 day study in the book of James. I don’t know about you, but I learned many very valuable lessons from these studies, so I thought I’d take one post to tell you what I learned. Maybe you can take a minute to comment how this study has affected you!
James 1:2-5 tells us that we should joy when facing temptation. Then he takes the next 3 verses to tell us why. When I look at these verse and apply it the way James has written it, I plainly see the trials I went through were there to try my faith so that patience would be produced. Patience in both cases brought me through as I waited upon God. And that patience is there to perfect me, to help me become mature in Christ, so that I can fulfill the call He has put on my life. That was a real revelation to me.
Verse 6 tells us that if we ask for wisdom, we will receive it. Verse 7 tells us that we must not waver in our faith. Put these 2 verses together and tie them to vs 2-5 and we find the truth behind these verses. The wisdom we ask for is to know why we are going through the trials, when they will end, and what we will learn from them. But our faith must not waver in asking, we must have patience. The kind of patience called for in the previous verses.
We now skip ahead to James 2. Te beginning of this chapter tells us we should not be partial toward people, citing treating rich people better then poor as an example (vs 1-7). He says the reason we should not do this is because we will be judged by the perfect law of liberty (vs 8-12). The perfect law is the Ten Commandments and we will be judged by that law. Jesus said He fulfilled the law, but He did not make the law easier – He made it harder. This is a great introduction to James’s study on the relationship between faith and works, found in verses 13-26. In this we talked about the fact that faith through grace brings us the initial salvation from sin through Christ (Eph 2:8-9), but we still must work our our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). Both are necessary for our growth in Christ. Too many stop at the faith part thinking they have accomplished all they need to. There is so much more for us!
James 3 is a wonderful discussion of the dangers of our tongue. Some of the worst evils come from our mouths, and they an hurt someone far more than anything else e can do to them. We all know people who were put down as children and the repercussions that affected their lives for decades to come. The tongue is powerful – all of creation came forth as the Word. The first admonition, in verse 1, cautions us about too many teachers – oh how applicable this is today. Verses 2-12 then help us to understand how important it is to watch our tongue. We are like ships or horses who need our tongues guided by something outside of ourselves. In verses 13-16 James says if we have wisdom, we will speak out of meekness, not it the wisdom of this world. in conclusion, verse 17-8 tells us to use godly wisdom in our communication with others because it is gentle and brings peace.
In Chapter 4, James turns his attention to humility. He starts out by telling us that fighting and wars between us come from our own lusts (v 1-2). He goes on to say that we are asking God for the wrong things because ll we want to do is have things for ourselves, not for Godly purposes (v 3-5). Verses 6 & 7 are two of the more well known verses in James, and tell us to be humble and submit to God. He then tells us we should not speak evil of anyone, not be judgmental, and not plan on tomorrow being there. All of these things are God’s domain (V 8-16). Verse 17 brings us back to our works but telling us that if we know to do something good, and don’t do it, it becomes sin to us. Powerful!
Chapter 5 comes against those who take advantage of of others, especially people they are in charge of like workers under a boss (v 1-7). In verses 9 he calls on us to be patient and not old grudges. Verses 9-10 patience is the goal, pointing us to the example of the prophets. The conclusion of the book is a study in effective prayer and the value of accountability.
This study has been one I will not forget and will go back to often. I had several people tell me when we started this study that James is their favorite book of the bible, and I can see why. James covers a lot of very important topics that we need to observe every day. I plan to com back to this book more often in the future. Thanks for coming along on the journey!