Summary: James is writing this book to Christians who have scattered out from Jerusalem. He covers multiple concepts throughout this book, but they can be boiled down to “being doers of the word and not just hearers” and “withstanding the trials”. Due to Christian persecution & poverty the church has broken into factions that are at odds with each other and is causing some to fail at putting their faith into practice.
(V. 1-6) This passage doesn’t need much interpretation. The love of money has been the downfall of many souls. This issue is heightened in countries like America due to our prosperity. Most of us think “Bill Gates” when we hear the word rich. However, if you think on a global scale; the ability to read, public transportation, running water, education opportunities, even food can classify us as “rich”. We take all of these things for granted and hoard all of our wealth for our own families. This is not the kingdom God has in mind for his people. To be blunt: if we aren’t sharing these things with people who are less fortunate and using these resources to make the glory of God known, then we are wasting our lives and will eventually perish just like these riches.
(V. 7-12) James uses the illustration of a farmer to explain being patient in trials and sufferings. When we face opposition from satan God wants us to trust that he is working in the midst of that and be proactive even when it seems hard. When the farmer plants a crop, he invests everything he has. This means we should leave nothing on the table when it comes to working for the Lord (even in suffering). We know that it will take time to reap the harvest but the harvest will come. If we depend on the harvest of the Lord the way a farmer does his crop, then we will get to work at daylight and serve the Lord till dark day in and day out. I urge you all to invest all you have for the Kingdom.
(V. 13-20) The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Prayer is a tool given by God for spiritual warfare against satan. When we begin to use prayer as a tool to extend God’s glory instead of simply asking for blessing, God will honor that and we can pray knowing he will respond.
How has your week been spiritually? / What is God teaching you?
What sins are you struggling with that you need to confess?
(V. 1-6) How has money affected your relationship with God & others?
(V. 1-6) Do you understand why money can be a hindrance to glorifying God?
(V. 1-6) Are you willing to deny yourself & use your resources for others?
(V. 7-12) How can you invest in the kingdom like a farmer in a crop?
(V. 7-12) What does a proactive lifestyle look like in a period of waiting?
(V. 7-12) What blessings have you overlooked in a time of suffering or waiting?
(V. 13-20) Who is the primary focus of your prayers, you or God & his glory?