Toward the end of the New Testament, there is the Book of James. It is considered to have been written by James, who was a brother of Jesus and likely the oldest (Mt 13.55). While he was not initially a believer, James came to be the leader of the Church in Jerusalem. Paul, Peter and Jude held him in high regard. This Book is “characterized by good deeds and a faith that works” (NIV note). He urges listening and warns against quarrelsomeness, spiritual unfaithfulness, pride, slander and boasting. He describes two kinds of wisdom. What can you learn from James?
- “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4
- “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” James 2:14
- “Be patient, then, my brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.” James 5:7
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks , he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6
- “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
- “”My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:19-21
- “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights , who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
- “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? James 4:1
- “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. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from Heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.” James 3:13-15
- “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him, speaks against the law.” James 4:11
- “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person.” James 3:5-6
- “When tempted, no one should say, God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” James 1:13-14
- Look at #13 above. Have you ever read a portion of the Bible, noted its application, and then did nothing? James said, “Do what it says.”
- Consider #11 above. Has your tongue ever gotten you into difficulty? Have you ever said something that surprised you? What do you do to tame your tongue?
- In #2 above, James is saying that faith without deeds is dead. If you claim a Christian faith, describe three of the deeds you have done recently that reflect that faith.
Kenneth Oosting, Ph D