Digging into the Book of James isn’t for the lighthearted. It condemns various sins, speaks about patient perseverance during trials and temptations, and describes what a life of obedience to Christ looks like. But if you dive in even further, you’ll find that the Book of James explains how to receive wisdom from God’s Word and encourages readers to live consistently by that.
James doesn’t write a theology book like Romans. He doesn’t write an apocalyptic book like Revelation. Instead, James is a very practical book because it speaks to how religious people struggle not with what they know but what they do about it – how they put their faith into practice.
The Book of James explains how to receive wisdom from God's Word. Wisdom from God results in a fruitful life even in the face of hardships. James applies the teachings of Jesus to everyday life. It explains what a life of obedience to Christ looks like.
Framing his letter within an overall theme of patient perseverance during trials and temptations, James writes with the goal of encouraging his readers to live consistently with what they have learned in Christ.
God is often our cosmic helpdesk. We acknowledge Him in passing but don’t engage with Him until needed. And once things are fixed, we don’t seek Him out until we need Him again.
Often for us to experience what God has for us, God has to bring us to the end of ourselves. How does that happen?
Seems a little far-fetched, right? How many people get excited when they encounter hardship? What you might not know is that it’s all about perspective.
Have you played sports, had a child, or played an instrument? You have to practice, persevere, and trust the coach, doctor, or teacher alongside you because they know what they’re doing. They are the expert or masters of their craft.
When you run into difficulty, ask God for wisdom. This is the kind of prayer He delights in answering! Crying out to God is NOT a sign of weakness but strength.
Notice it doesn’t say, “ask for answers.” But instead, ask for the perspective to see the path even when it’s difficult and dark.
Remember Apollo 13? When the power failed, Jim Lovell was 205,000 miles from home, and radio contact was lost. If he hadn’t lost all power – and it hadn’t been completely dark – he wouldn’t have been able to see the wake trail back to the carrier.
Wisdom might be the clarity to see the path that only darkness reveals. But, so often, to experience what God has for us, God has to bring us to the end of ourselves and give us a new understanding.
When you ask God for wisdom, He might just turn the lights out. Our feelings are going to scream at us but stay the course. Remember, you’re the bondservant.
This isn’t about the amount of money in your bank account or how well-off you are. What James is really talking about is:
Think of what happens when you boil water on a stovetop. The heat is the same, and the water is the same, but it has the opposite effect depending on what's inside. So, you have a choice to make when you find yourself in the fire, the heat, the hot water of life.
Do you become hardened or softened to what God wants to do in you when the heat gets turned up? So, when it comes to the trials in your life, which are you, the egg or the potato?
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