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. 1-8) When our faith is put to the test, it will always bring out the genuineness. This means as we are tested the true depth of our faith will come to light for us and the onlooking world to see. This is an opportunity for God to put his power on display. When we can walk through difficult situations and still give the glory to God, it makes Him look glorious. The way we withstand these trials is simply by asking God for the wisdom it takes to overcome. For a lot of people, the reason we aren’t growing in our knowledge of God is because we aren’t asking him for wisdom and going to his word for an answer.
(V. 9-18) James reminds us that this life is so temporary that it shouldn’t be that difficult to withstand the trials. Just like a poor man will be extremely happy to let go of his poverty for heaven, a rich man has to be just as eager to let go of his riches for heaven. No matter what we have on earth it will always be temporary, therefore we should watch out for temptations in this world and look for the things James used to contrast temptation (V. 17). God will NEVER change and his gifts are always good.
(V. 19-27) Just like the people of James’s time, we often forgot the words Jesus has planted in our heart. We have no problem coming to an intellectual understanding of the word but it fails to move to our hands and feet. James tells us that if our faith isn’t being actively lived out then v. 26 “this person's religion is worthless”. “Doing” will never save us, only receiving the Gospel will do that. However, when we receive the Gospel Jesus gives us new desires. The “doing” is only evidence that Christ has changed our heart.
How has your week been spiritually? / What is God teaching you?
What sins are you struggling with that you need to confess?
(V. 1-8) What trials have you faced and what did it teach you about your faith?
(V. 1-8) How exactly do we overcome trials according to James?
(V. 9-18) Are you willing to let go of the things of this world for God’s plan for you?
(V. 9-18) How does James describe temptation?
(V. 9-18) How can V.16-17 help us battle temptation?
(V. 19-27) What parts of God’s word are you not living out and why?
(V. 19-27) What does James say about those who aren’t living out the Word of God?