Our small group recently completed an extended study in the book of James. Anytime I finish a study that has lasted weeks or months, I like to look back and think about the lessons God has given. Reviewing His Word helps me remember.
Here are thirteen lessons that I have gleaned from James during this study. The list is by no means complete. Every time I read scripture, God opens my eyes to something new to me, something that applies to me right where I am.
That is the wonder of the Living Word.
Lessons from James:
James, the leader of the church in Jerusalem, wrote to dispersed Jewish Christians. These Christians were facing persecution and they were immersed in cultures foreign to the protected Jewish culture in Jerusalem. They were facing temptations and trials that they had never faced before as they attempted to build a community of Christian believers.
The Book of James is a book of encouragement and instruction. James was teaching the believers how to depend on and serve the God Who had saved them. All the lessons in the book are given to this end.
We, too, are pilgrims in a world that does not share our faith. James’ lessons are for us as well.
Lesson 1: There will be trials. Find joy in the fact that these trials are maturing you in faith. (Chapter 1)
Lesson 2: God will give you wisdom if you ask. Seek Him. You will recognize His wisdom by its characteristics. It does not breed confusion. God’s wisdom is pure, peaceable, and gentle. His wisdom is not contentious. It is full of mercy and bears good fruits. You won’t find God’s wisdom in hypocrisy or preferential treatment of others. (Chapters 1, 3)
Lesson 3: Let your faith be established in God’s Word and in Who He is. Don’t be wishy-washy. Throw yourself and everything you have into God’s care. (Chapter 1)
Lesson 4: This life is a passing vapor. Live it for God, for only He will remain. (Chapters 1, 4)
Lesson 5: Endure temptation. God doesn’t tempt you, but He will reward your steadfastness as you resist the temptation to follow evil ways. This world wants to trap you and pull you back into its clutches. Say no, and cling to God. Hold tight to Him. Submit to Him. He will give you more grace. (Chapters 1, 4)
Lesson 6: Everything that is truly good comes from God. He is not capricious, and He does not change. He has birthed us into His family with the expectation that more fruit will follow. (Chapter 1)
Lesson 7: Your tongue can get you into a lot of trouble. Its misuse is a constant temptation, so guard yourself by being slow to speak. Listen more than you talk and watch how you talk about others. (Chapters 1, 3, 4)
Lesson 8: Don’t be quick to get angry. Man’s anger doesn’t produce God’s righteousness. (Chapter 1)
Lesson 9: Act on what God is teaching you. Be a doer of the word, actively living out your faith in Him. This will show in how you take care of the widows and orphans and how you treat those who are less fortunate than you. It will also show in your speech and how you reach out to the those struggling in faith. (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5)
Lesson 10: Love. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love each other. Love the poor. Love the needy. Love God, and let that love show out in mercy. Reach out to those who are struggling and falling away from faith. Don’t talk negatively about God’s children. Love them. (Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5)
Lesson 11: Humble yourselves. Only God can judge another. Only God is worthy to be in charge. We are sinners saved by His grace. Let Him have full control and make your decisions under His leadership. (Chapter 4)
Lesson 12: Be patient. These trials won’t last forever. Our Lord is coming again, and it could be very soon. There is no time for grumbling or complaining or holding grudges or spending time on a lot of silly talk. Just as He is in control of everything, the timeline for His coming is in His hands. (Chapters 1, 5)
Lesson 13: Pray. Pray for what you need. Pray according to God’s will. Pray when you are struggling. Pray with rejoicing when you are happy. Call for your spiritual leaders to pray with you when you are sick. Confess to others when you are in the wrong and let them pray with you. Pray. (Chapters 4, 5)
II Timothy 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.
– John Stott
Photo – Quiet Time, Beth Mims