Summary: Scripture is like a mirror, we can choose to believe what is revealed or reject it and walk away.
It’s widely understood that though there were many men named James surrounding Jesus, it was indeed James, the half brother of Jesus that authored this book in the NT. He was in fact, a pillar in the early church as Paul tells us in Galatians 2:9
Jesus appeared to him (1 Corinthians 15:7) after the resurrection and that was all James needed! James quickly became one of the early leaders of the church.
Easter: Nearly 1,400 people stood to accept Jesus! If you are one of those people, know that James has an Easter salvation too☺
There are many heavy theological books in the Bible. James is all about application. I love it because it’s a manual for Christian living! It forces us to not just say we’re Christians…but actually LIVE IT OUT. It just doesn’t get any clearer than this! We’re going to tackle a chapter a week, so you don’t want to miss it.
Of all the things James will hit on in the upcoming 5 chapters, he chooses to start by telling us that life isn’t about happiness, it’s about holiness. That life is going to throw a lot of things our way. Life isn’t always easy.
The Christian life doesn’t assure constant happiness.
This young church was getting hammered! Persecuted in ways we could never imagine. The Romans saw the early Christian movement as a threat to their power. You don’t bow to some ‘king’ named Jesus, you bow to Caesar!
James is telling us that WRITE THIS DOWN : the Christian doesn’t have to be a victim of this worlds circumstances! He says ‘be joyful when you encounter hard times’!!! The testing of our faith develops perseverance. WHAT?? Keep in mind, the majority of people James was addressing were uprooted, homeless, even imprisoned for their faith in Jesus!
Find joy amidst that?? Let’s face it, these are tough times…job losses, economy problems, unstable nations around the world getting more and more power…
When you have all of those outside components stacking up, then you add in personal tragedy…when bad things happen to good people…
We have a choice to make, when bad things happen to us, when life throws an unexpected curve ball…when there seems to be no joy to be found…we have a simple choice: we can get angry with God and question Him, or we can try to find out what He is trying to do IN us.
In Good times and in bad…
God is always wanting to produce Christ-likeness in us, as Christians.
This process necessarily involves suffering sometimes. It doesn’t make sense in our finite minds! Understand that the fruit of the spirit that needs to grow inside of us ( love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control ) – Galatians 5 They can’t grow inside of us if there’s always sunshine. You need dark clouds and rain sometimes.
From time to time I hear a Christian tell me after coming out of the toughest time of their life, they’ve never felt closer to God. God wraps His arms around them. He proves that He’s big enough by far to handle anything their going through. God is plenty big enough!
V 17 James points out that God not only created all, but He alone is the unchanging source of all light in the universe, spiritual light included! His light won’t change like a shadow in a setting sun, His light will never be eclipsed and cut off from us! Once we accept Him….
Look at the beautiful poetic cadence James uses from 17-18 God created all…then he sucks it down to a personal level and reminds us that He is our Father also, and that God has given us each a unique roll in his creation! How we act in that role is up to us! How do we act???
V 19 READ IT can take some of us a lifetime to master☺ Quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger! Proverbs 16:32 ‘ he who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city’.
If we could not only memorize this one but apply it!
V 21 reminds us that just reading your Bible isn’t the only key! Too many times we can read scripture for learning, or academic purposes…and not be impacted by it. Read it with a meek, submissive, humble spirit James says! It won’t do us much good just to read the Bile to check a box.
Be doers of the word, not just hearers!!!!! Be doers of the Word, not just church attendees! We could camp out for a month on this verse alone!!! There’s no value in reading the Bible as literature!
There has to be a deep desire to hear God speaking to us, and an unquestioning willingness to do whatever he says.