Is there ever something you read over and over again, yet each time you gain a better understanding. But you can never seem to completely understand it… That is the book of James for me. These 5 chapters of my Bible are probably read more often than any other and yet I still get something new every time.
As a kid, about 80% of the devotionals or on the spot bible classes I remember from my dad were from the book of James. I never understood why, but I think his curiosity was passed on to me. I have read the book several times, studied in small groups, and even read the commentaries, and I still get something new every time.
James’ message is kinda does what ya always wish a best friend would do. No matter if I think life is going good or I’m struggling with something, James speaks to me. It’s like he knocks your feet out from under ya, and kneels down to to tell ya how it is, plain and simple. “Be patient, get off your rear and practice what you preach, act like you know how, respect the one who got you here, and again, be patient. I usually have a bit of a silent smile of defeat and say to myself “You’re right.”
Here’s a few of the statements that would be on my cork board if I had one…
- Testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. When you ask, believe and do not doubt. – 1:3-4, 6
- Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Do not merely listen to the word. Do what it says. Blessed is the one who looks intently into the word, continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, and does it. – 1:19, 22, 25
- Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – 2:10, 12-13
- Faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead. Someone will say, you have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. As the body without spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. – 2:17-18, 26
- We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. This should not be. – 3:2, 10
- Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. There you will find disorder and every evil practice. The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-living, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. – 3:13-14, 16, 17-18
- When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives. God opposes the proud but give grace to the humble. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will life you up. – 4:3, 6-7, 10
- You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. Instead, you should say, If it is the Lord’s will we will live and do this or that. Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. – 4:14-15, 17
- See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, should be patient and stand firm. We consider 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. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. – 5:7-8, 11-12