Welcome to Journaling Through James, Week 1!
I’m so excited you’re here with me as we study James 1:1-25! I love new beginnings, fresh, unwritten pages, and I LOVE seeing the living, active Word of God come alive each and every time I read it! James is one of my absolute favorite books of the Bible, and although I find myself coming back to it time and time again, God never fails to show me something new with each and every read! I pray that He will do the same for you, whether this is your first or fifty-first time to study James.
To set the stage, the book of James is actually a letter, thought by many scholars to have been written by James (the brother of Jesus, not the disciple). In the letter’s introduction, James addresses “the twelve tribes in the Dispersion” (v1). How interesting to read this letter on the heels of a time when the church has been scattered in a different way (Welcome to 2020= Quarantine/Home Church much?) Some believe that this letter was written sometime after the stoning of Stephen (recorded in Acts 7), when Saul was wreaking havoc on the church in Jerusalem, persecuting them so fiercely that they were caused to be scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1). If this speculation of the timing of this letter is correct, it would make perfect sense that James would reference “the Dispersion” as well as for him to provide words of encouragement in the face of trials.
Keeping that in mind, this letter was not written specifically TO us, but it was still recorded FOR us.
Here’s a recap of James, Chapter 1:
- Consider it pure joy when (not IF) you face trials. Almost as if he anticipates the jaw-dropping reaction to this counter-intuitive suggested response to suffering, James assures his audience that the by-products of testing is cause for celebration.
- For those unsure of how to muster this illusive joy in the midst of difficulty, James offers this advice, “Ask God for wisdom!” Notice he doesn’t say to ask to be rescued from the fire. Instead, ask for understanding and a heart that is open to being taught though the trial. Ask, and do not doubt! God will not reward doubt—don’t expect an answer and you won’t get one.
- Remain steadfast under trial. It may not feel like you’re winning in the now, God has promised a crown of life for those who love him. (Even in the midst of the darkness when you’re tempted to feel forsaken and give up on Him. Stick it out like Job!)
- Listen up, pipe down, and chill out. The anger of man doesn’t produce the righteousness of God.
- It’s not enough to hear/study the Word. Live it out in your life.
I love the imagery we closed with in this week’s text. The Word is like a MIRROR that reveals what we SHOULD look like (as we mirror our lives after Christ). Let it reverberate in the way you intentionally go about your day. Like a mirror shows us our flaws so we can correct them (Think spinach in teeth), the Word convicts us, not just to make us aware, but so that we can right our course. It’s not enough to just look in the mirror (study the Word). Get the spinach out of your teeth! (Act on what it shows you).
I can’t wait to see/read what God shows you this week! Be sure you post your journal entries/share your thoughts in the comment section. I’m praying for your as you continue your study, and look forward to seeing you here next week! Blessings!