Throughout Jesus’s ministry there were varying opinions about who He was. Even as He rode into Jerusalem on this day we celebrate as the triumphal entry, there were different views about His identity. They hailed Him as the Son of David, which was a term used for the Messiah, when asked by those in Jerusalem who this man was that seemed to gather a crowd and garner a lot of excitement, the people were told He was a prophet. Yet Scripture is clear and Jesus was certain about Hi identity. We should be as well. There is only one right answer to the question who do men say that He is. He is the Messiah. Are you convinced of that in your own heart?
James has more to say on the topic of favoritism. Setting verse 8 aside for a bit, a look at verses 9-13 show us that favoritism is an abomination. James says it’s a sin and if we commit favoritism, we’re just as guilty of breaking the God’s law as if committing murder or adultery. If favoritism is a sin, what’s the answer? That is found in verse 8 where we are told about the royal law – that is, the need to love others. When we love others as we should, then we will eliminate favoritism. Instead of asking who is my neighbor, the better question to ask is to whom can I be a neighbor. It really has more to do with opportunity than proximity.
James challenges us about favoritism and shows us that there are some flaws. He first examines the flaws, then he explains the flaws. We conclude by considering three was to eradicate the flaws of favoritism. If we dig deep enough, are we will first to admit that we have biases of some kind toward any one person or group of people? If we admit we do, are we then willing to apply the command not to who favoritism or partiality? If we have genuine faith and are willing to be doers of the Word, we will.
James asks us to consider our religion. Is it faulty or faultless? He gives us some ways to figure it out that show our heart. It gives us pause to consider our religion.
Our passage today is a challenge for all believers. Last week we discussed the need to be hearers of the Word of God. Today the challenge for us is to do something with what we hear. We are to be doers of the Word and not just hearers, otherwise we deceive ourselves. This is a call to act on the message of God’s Word. What is God telling you? Is there something in your character that God’s Spirit is moving you to change based on something revealed to you in Scripture? If so, are you just a hearer or are you a doer. My prayer is that you become a doer and not just a hearer.
James addresses two important issues facing Christians: their talk and their walk. The new birth affects these two areas of the believer’s life so that a noticeable difference should be evident to others. How has the new birth affected you those areas?
Most likely we have all been over some kind of bridge whether by car or on foot. Some are marvels of architectural design, magnificent in their expanse. Others are centuries old and almost as impassible as the gulf they span. Verse 16 in our passage is a bridge where James takes us from one thought to the next. In the previous verses we are reminded that God is not the author of temptation and in the verses that follow James reminds us that we have a God who gives us gifts that good in the act of giving and gifts that are perfect in the gift itself. If God is only good all the time it stands to reason that He only gives good gifts. He has given us the gift of eternal life through the Word of Truth. The question is whether we have crossed the bridge to eternal life by the bridge He has provided in His Son Jesus Christ.
James helps us understand the nature of temptation – its source and its steps. Other Scripture will help us see the solution to temptation. We will all encounter a variety of temptations. How can we come out victorious over the temptation so that it doesn’t lead us to sin.
Do you consider yourself blessed when you encounter trials? Is there a settled contentment and joyfulness that permeates your soul in the middle of life’s challenges? James says that the person who endures trials is blessed. When he or she has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God gives to those who love Him. Scripture tells us that the demonstration of our love is our obedience to His commands. Loving God in the trial is the motivation we need that helps build our faith and keep us going through the life challenge knowing that we have an eternal reward waiting for us. That keeps us going. So how is your love for God? Do you know for sure you will receive the crown of life? Be encouraged, God has made a promise for persevering.
We all go through trials. We learned that last week from James 1:2-4. We even learned the reason we encounter them, to mature our faith. We even learned how to respond in them, with pure joy. So when we are undergoing a trial, how should we pray? Our passage in James 1:5-8 tells us to pray/ask for wisdom, and we must ask in faith. I pray this will be of encouragement to you.