Bible Reading for DEC22: James 4-5

There are three men mentioned in the New Testament
named James. There is the apostle, the son of Zebedee
and the brother of John; the second is an apostle, the
son of Alphaeus; and the third is James, the brother of
our Lord. James was the oldest brother of Jesus (Matthew
13:55) and is commonly recognized as the writer of this
epistle. He addresses his writings to the Jews who are
scattered abroad. James was known as an unusually good
man, and was surnamed “the Just” by his fellow men. He
is said to have spent much time on his knees in prayer,
and because of that they became calloused like the knees
of camels. After Peter moved off the scene, James became
the leader of the assembly at Jerusalem.

In chapter 1 faith and the trial of faith are
again presented. It has often been said that one of the
best tests of Christian maturity is tribulation. James
tells us that a Christian should rejoice in the time of
trials. You might ask how we can have joy in the midst
of our troubles. James gives the answer in chapter 1, by
showing the certainties the Christian has in the time of
tribulation. In verses 1-12 James tells us that there is
a purpose for all of these trials. We can be sure, in
every situation and every trial that befalls us, that
God does have a purpose for it. His main purpose is for
the perfection of Christian character. God wants His
children to be mature and able to face any situation.
Trials produce patience, as we see in Romans 5:3, and
patience produces indurance. The second thing we can be
sure of during troubles is the goodness of God. Whatever
trial or temptation may face us, we can be sure that God
will be with us through these temptations, and will
never give us a burden too heavy to bear. The third
thing we can always be sure of in the time of temptation
is the Word of God. The Word has the answers to all our
problems. If we will read it and obey it, no matter what
may befall us, we will come out the victors in every
situation.

In chapter 2 James presents true Bible faith.
James tells us that our faith is proven by love. He says
if we have not faith then we will not practice the
things of God, but if we have faith, then we are to live
like it in our daily lives.

Christians are known by the fruits they bear.
True Christians have love one for another, love for God,
and love for their fellow men. James also says that our
faith is proven by works. We must not confuse works and
grace, and here James is not contradicting Paul; but he
simply says that if a person has Christ living within
his life he will produce works of righteousness.
Ephesians 2:8,9 shows us very definitely that we are
saved by grace and not of works. But here James is
saying that if we are in fact saved by grace, and if we
do in fact have our faith and trust in Jesus Christ,
then show Him some works. The world judges Christian
people by the works they produce, and a Christian’s
proof to the world of a genuine born-again experience is
good works.

Chapter 4 makes it clear that there were carnal
divisions and disputes among the believers to whom James
was writing. There was a lack of true separation in
their lives, and the devil was having his way in the
lives of many. As Christians, we should realize there
are several enemies we must face. The flesh is the enemy
we have with us continually. The word “lusts” does not
necessarily mean sensual passions. It simply means
desires. There are desires that are at work in the
members of the body that will excite the flesh and
create problems. The flesh is human nature apart from
God. This is why Romans 6 exhorts us to yield the
members of our bodies to the Spirit.

The world is another enemy we must face
constantly. As Christians, we must not love the world.
When we do love the world after becoming Christians, we
are committing spiritual adultery. God says, “Love not
the world, neither the things that are in the world.”
When the believer becomes a friend to the world, he
becomes at enmity with God. He grieves the Spirit
within. It is sad the way many Christians live in and
for the world. The devil is the greatest influence and
enemy we must fight today. When a Christian lives for
the world and the flesh, he becomes proud and this is
where the devil goes to work. Pride is one of his best
tools. God wants to give us more grace; Satan wants to
give us more pride. The Christian must use the Word to
resist the devil. James 4:7,8a says, “Submit yourselves
therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee
from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to
you.” There is no way of living the Christian life apart
from a surrendered life to the Spirit of God. It is
important that every Christian examine his heart and be
sure he is not living for the flesh or the world, and
that the devil is not controlling his words and deeds.
Life is so brief that we cannot afford to waste even one
day. Surrender today to the Lord completely and ask Him
to fill you with His Holy Spirit, that you might be for
Him what He would have you to be.

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