1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
- verses 2-4: This topic is also discussed in Romans
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
- Here in James we are told we should be happy when trials come and test our patience... and that we need to let patience work in us and we will be found whole and wanting nothing.
In Romans it explains a little more about the work patience does. The trials we face work patience in us... patience gives us experience... and the experience gives us hope.
If we sit back and cry about every trial we face, we will never be patient and the experience will not benefit us. We may even find ourselves feeling hopeless.
God wants us to be strong in Him, and working through our trials can get us a long way in that.
- verse 5: God wants us to have wisdom. Ask Him for some.
- verses 6-7: We MUST have faith when we ask anything of the Lord. If we do not believe that God will answer our requests then chances are He will not.
- verse 8: Pretty obvious I think.
- verses 9-11: It's mentioned many times in the Bible, how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For the rich rely on their own wealth and the poor have nothing to lean on but the Lord. Those who have nothing will find it easy to turn to God and rest in His strength, thus they too become strong. The rich rely on their worldly possessions which last only for a season. When trials come they have nothing to stand on.
- verse 12 God lets us know the reward for enduring temptation
- verses 13-15 It is clear that our temptation does not come from God, but from our own sinful desires. It is when we allow ourselves to be drawn away from God that we are in danger.
When we entertain our own desires it leads to sin, and sin leads to death.
- verse 17 Every good and perfect gift comes from God... right? I believe that is something we really need to remember each day. We have to be careful not to take things for granted, and to not give credit for those good things to ourselves or anyone else.
- verse 18 We are above all of the rest of God's creation. He gave us His Holy word because we are so important to Him.
- verses 19-20 I think most of us have heard this and can understand it. Be quick to listen: sometimes you can get a better understanding of things when you take time to listen. Slow to wrath: as mentioned thereafter the wrath of man does not do God's work.
- verses 21-25 We need to lay aside all of our filthiness. We need to receive God's Holy word. And we are to be doers of the word. How can we do God's will if we hold onto all of our own earthly desires. If we hold onto our own sinful desires and try to receive God's word, will we hear it? We can listen to God's word, but how can we do His works when we hold onto our own? When we try to do this we will find ourselves forgetting much of what He is teaching. We need to let go of ALL that is not Holy and receive God's word, and then go and do what we are called to do in His word.
-verse 26 Many people do what they can to act religious but in their hearts they still hold onto anger and other sinful qualities. We do All sin, but for some they can't let go of certain things. As mentioned in previous discussions, we cannot serve two masters. When we serve our own sinful desires and don't follow God's commands, our religion is vain
- verse 27 "visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction" sounds kind of like loving your neighbor as yourself. If we love God, we will love one another also. In loving one another, we would care for each other.
"and to keep himself unspotted from the world" We are not to conform to this world. God calls us to go and sin no more. He calls us to be Holy just as He is Holy.
If we want to be effective in our ministry, and "undefiled before God" there are some things expected of us.
Lord I pray that this word is read and understood. Give us wisdom Lord. Give us strength and courage to face our trials. Instill in us your holy spirit to aide us in our fight against temptation. Help us to lay aside all of our sins and selfish desires. We want to do your will Lord. We want to be the men and women you call us to be.
A new subject or passage each week for all to discuss.
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