I was reading the book of James for my morning time with God throughout the months of August and September. As I read along, I took notes of some reflections and would post them to Facebook and Twitter from time to time to encourage and challenge believers. When I looked back over all the notes I had accumulated I thought it would be a good idea to post them all in one place. So here we are....
May my notes from my time in James encourage and challenge you as well.
- Trials are to be counted as blessings because of what they produce in us, growth/maturity. The end is greater than the pain of getting there. It's like working out, we like how we look and feel after all the hard, long days in the gym. The name of our life gym is called “Trials”, and God is our fitness coach. Look toward the end result during those painful periods. Remind yourself it's worth it because God is chiseling you into His likeness. #changeinperspective #getfit #feeltheburn (Jam. 1:2-4)
- Asking God in faith and doubting contradict one another. Faith acknowledges God's character, doubt does not. Either we ask God in faith and await His response in hope, knowing that whatever He decides will be good because He is good and works all things together according to His good pleasure; or we doubt and disbelieve God can or will or that His response will be something other than for our good and we begin to worry, become anxious, and miss the good in God's response. (Jam. 1:5-8)
- The glory of humility is exaltation (i.e. being honored for being humble). The glory of the rich is humiliation (because riches don't last and the pursuit of riches is short-lived). (Jam. 1:9-11)
- Happiness is a by-product of enduring temptation. We're happy when we don't succumb to temptation, woohoo! Honor from the Lord is a reward of enduring temptation. Oh to hear the words, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant!”, is like being crowned by the King. (Jam. 1:12)
- James 1:13-18 contrast good coming from God and tempted to evil coming from our own desires. And James warns us not to be deceived. Any evil we do or desire or approve comes from within us. Any good we do or receive or desire or approve comes from God.
- Believers are to receive God's Word with meekness, not arrogantly or passively. (Jam 1:21b)
- Only the Word implanted in the heart is able to save souls (Jam 1:21b). Our words, reasoning, opinions, and so on have no ability to rescue a person. Only God's holy Word does! Be an open and friendly conduit of God's truth from His revealed Word! #thepowerisinHisWord
- Acceptable piety to God is to selflessly serve others in need and be noticeably set-apart from the world. (Jam 1:27)
- James 2 is so easily misinterpreted to mean “we are justified by works”. Yet the context clearly shows that “faith is justified by works”. James 2 is so misinterpreted because we rather earn our salvation than for God to give it to us freely. Works are self-initiated. Grace is anti-self and God-initiated. Our faith is justified by works because it was initiated by grace. Thus, the works that genuine saving faith will produce is God-initiated not self-initiated (cf. Phil 2:12-13).
- Faith and favoritism cannot coexist. If you show favoritism to one person over another, James says you commit sin. Our churches are failing in this department. Pastors, leaders, and members go read James 2:1-13 and repent if you're guilty and make the hard adjustments for the glory of God and the gratitude of His grace in your life. Hold each other accountable to this charge in Scripture. The church is not a country club (e.g. members only, same race only, same class only, etc), it's a safe haven for all sinners in need of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- People should not be quick to be teachers of God's Word/Truth (either in speaking or writing). It's a tall task of which there is an even taller standard of accountability. We will be judged by our words. There is a great cost for such a great privilege. (Jam. 3:1ff)
- There are many people who appear wise and sound wise, but if they do not bear the fruit of wisdom they are not so. (Jam 3:13-17)
- James 4:1-4 is where we are when we compromise and are being carnal. James 4:5-6 is how God responds. James 4:7-11 is to be our appropriate response to God's response. Let us read and heed! #devowithJames
- Whenever we speak evil (unkind, untruthful, gossip, slander, etc) of another believer we speak evil of the law of Christ and sit in the seat of God declaring condemnation (James 4:11-12). Be mindful of what you say about other believers, even in the name of “venting” and getting “accountable”, because you may be sinning against God and that believer. #morningdevowithJames #convicted #imguiltyofthis #Jamesholdsnopunches #letsdobetterChurch
- Be careful that the plans we make are not in arrogance as if we are sovereign. James calls this evil. (Jam 4:13-16)
- The person whose heart desires and is filled with an abundance of things eventually brings misery and judgment upon themself. Their riches/wealth are their corroded treasure they have chosen over the Lord. (Jam 5:1-8)
- Over-indulgence leads to judgment. (Jam 5:5)
- We as believers need to be more quick to bear with one another than to grumble against one another. For how we are so we shall receive. (Jam 5:7-9)
- When suffering as a believer remember the end is always intended by the Lord, who is full of compassion and mercy. (Jam 5:10-11)
- Don't make commitments and promises you can't keep, or you'll come under the judgment of hypocrisy. (Jam 5:12)
- We in the Church need each other. We need to be available for one another. We need to reach out to one another in the highs and lows. We can do much good to one another if we follow James instructions with pure hearts or much harm if we don't. (Jam 5:13-16)
- It's okay to pray the unbelievable and the unforeseeable. God is not intimidated. He may very well do it. (Jam 5:17-18)
- We are our brothers/sisters keeper. We are to help bring them home when they're wandering in error and heading for death. (Jam 5:19-20)