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Before we jump into our pondering of James 1, here are a few things to know about James the man and James the book in general…
- Brother of Jesus – Comedian Michael Jr. does a bit that is hilarious about what it might have been like to have Jesus as your older brother. You can check it out HERE.
- His Story – He did not believe prior to the resurrection – the resurrection changed everything for him!
- Became the leader of the Jerusalem church
- Keynote speaker of the Jerusalem Council – AD 49
- Nicknames – 1) James the Just – he was known for his righteous life; 2) Old Camel Knees – he was known as a man who spent a lot of time on his knees praying
- Probably Married – 1 Corinthians 9:5
- Martyred ~ AD 62
About the Book of James
- Probably first NT book written ~ AD 45
- Written to a Jewish audience (James 1:1)
- Controversy surrounding the book: Salvation by grace through faith (Apostle Paul) vs salvation by faith plus works. James is NOT saying this. He IS saying that genuine faith is a faith THAT works not a faith by works – Focus is on the application of the gospel not the gospel itself.
- Written to combat “easy believism” which was an issue then as it is now.
There is much to be pondered in this chapter. I will focus on these few verses for the sake of brevity:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5-6)
Verse 5 – It should not be surprising that Old Camel Knees recommends prayer as the first order of business when facing a situation that calls for wisdom. Too often we try to figure things out on our own and leave the Lord out of our decision making. It’s no wonder that people make so many bad decisions. Two additional questions that I would ask that would demonstrate a willingness to hear from God would be these:
1) What does God’s Word say – does it give any insight into the situation?
2) What do the godly people that love me and care about me say – do they have any insights that can help me as I try to make wise decisions?
Verse 6 – Doubt is one the strategies that the enemy of our souls will use to try to defeat us. If fact, it was the very first tactic he used to bring down Adam and Eve way back in Genesis 3:1. So how do we combat doubt when it assails our mind? Three things:
1) Satan asked Adam and Eve the question, “Did God actually say ‘you shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And it planted a seed of doubt in their minds. Always go back to the Word of God and remind yourself of what God actually did say. If you allow the seed to grow to fruition you are well on your way to a fall of your own.
2) Develop an apologetic faith – what I mean by that is to know the why behind the what that you believe. And specifically know why you believe that Jesus is the resurrected Christ. James was a doubter – until the resurrection. But after the resurrection he was absolutely convinced that his older brother was the Lord of life. Thomas was a doubter – until he was absolutely convinced that Jesus rose from the grave. HERE is a really good testimony from Lee Strobel – an avowed atheist – until he became convinced that the resurrection was indeed fact not fable. You might also check out this book by him: The Case for Christ
3) Remind yourself all the times that you have seen God demonstrate his faithfulness to you. You might even create a book documenting God’s faithfulness over the years. We tend to have short memories. When doubt begins to creep in we need to remember how He has faithfully provided for us in the past so that we can confidently rebut any doubts that the evil one assaults us with.
May this brick help you be wise in your decision making and to know how to fight the enemy when he uses the strategy of doubt to try to defeat you.