Happy Monday! I have been going through the book of James with Daniel, and it is one of my FAVORITE studies. James is just so chock-ful of wisdom. A while ago my dad gave a talk and issued the James challenge: to read the book of James once a week. So I thought I'd take five weeks on here to write about the book of James in my own version of the challenge. I hope you enjoy!
I will divide it into the 3 sections my Bible has it divided into-- verse 1, verses 2-18, and verses 19-27. I'm not going to quote the verses here so make sure to read the chapter first.
James is the brother of Jesus, but it is interesting to note that he doesn't make mention of this fact. He appeals to them merely on the basis of his servitude to God and Christ. We, too, come before God and the believers not for our parents or family, but on the merits of OUR character and faith.
Obviously I love verse 2 because that's what I have called my blog... Pure Joy. What does it truly mean to take joy in our trials? As I have suggested on this blog before, I believe this joy is different than just being happy. It is much deeper. It's a joy in our hope that doesn't depend on outward circumstances. While our trials might not make us happy, we can take joy in the fact that they bring us closer to our hope! However, taking joy in our trials is a hugely difficult task, so James reminds us in verse 5 that if we lack the wisdom to be able to do so, all we have to do is ASK! Ask your Heavenly Father, and He will come to your aid!
In a similar vein, when we waver or are "two-souled" we are literally saying that we doubt God's ability. We may well doubt ourselves but we should never doubt Him! Instead, when we falter, turn to Him to persevere. James points out that God is ALWAYS faithful and doesn't change. People change, but God doesn't, and we should be so thankful for that! The idea of the of our God being like the Sun is beautiful. The Sun never changes but the heat and light we receive from it depend on OUR position to it!
Ahh... quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. It's an age-old proverb and yet many (including myself!) fail to do so. But James warns us that this lifestyle isn't just a good suggestion, it is essential to bringing about the life that God wants in us!
It's so easy to hear something and think it's great advice but forget to actually apply it's lessons. James reminds us that we must constantly focus ourselves to achieve the results desired.
Lastly, one of my favorite verses is verse 27: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress
and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." I've heard it suggested that the "and" isn't actually in the original text, so the meaning becomes that looking after orphans and widows is what keeps us from being polluted by the world!
Hope you have enjoyed just a few comments on James chapter 1. Please share any comments you may have!