Summary: Getting the best from life means being the person God wants you to be.

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Getting the Best from Life

James 1:1

* One of the largest sections in any bookstore today is the “self-help” section. In this section, you will discover titles like “how to become a millionaire”, ‘how to do woodworking”, or even ‘how to build your own house.’ Self-help or ‘how to’ are seen on TV as ‘infomercials.’ The thought is that knowledge is power and empowerment leads to success. Today we begin a journey through THE “How-to” book in God’s word. We will call this “how to do life.” Over the course of our journey, we will cover 108 verses which contain over 50 imperative about everyday living and life.

* If you will join me in this journey, we will discover what God’s word has to say about trials, temptation, talking, responding, praying, receiving people, works, and much more. James is the original pragmatist. Martin Luther didn’t like the epistle of James because he saw it as a contradiction to the letter to Rome. However, it is not a contradiction rather it is a complement to the message. The book of Romans tells us that we are justified by faith not by works. James follows with, “by our works, our faith is identified.” In other words, we can say we have faith, but until that faith leads to godly works, we do not have a saving faith.

* As you can tell, James will hit us where we live (that is exactly where we need to be touched). If we stay with this journey, you and I will become better. We’ll become better men and women, children and parents, workers and bosses, as well as ‘believers and church members.’ That is the power found in the book of James.

* Quite honestly, my desire was to begin this trek by taking the first 12 verses and I discovered too much and too many truths which we need to deal with. So I moved to 4 verses and still sense we would miss so important truths. So today, let’s consider verse 1 of Chapter 1. (Read the Verse)

* At first blush, you may think this verse is a little ‘ho-hum’ and lacking in spiritual teaching, but I submit that in these few words we can find the secret to living the practical, personal, and powerful life of an authentic believer in Christ Jesus. The last word gives us the attitude of the writer. “Greetings” in the original language is the word from which we get our word “GRACE” from. It is a happy, glad, and cheerful greeting. Grace to you!

* James gives us 3 pictures to show us how to get the best from life.

1. The Servant that is Sold Out – He begins by identifying himself as “James.” While there are many man named James (at least 4) in the New Testament, suffice to say that the evidence is indeed the half-brother of our Lord. James grew up in the same home as Jesus, followed in His shadow in those formative years, & did not come to faith UNTIL after the resurrection.

* No doubt he endured the talk, innuendo, and general attitude of having a family member who ‘thought’ he was the Son of God.

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