Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Epistle of James - A life transforming class

I took the book of James during fall break.  Talk about a life transforming class, I'll say! The controversy about James is whether or not he is the brother of Jesus.  The answer is, yes. At first, James rejected Jesus as Messiah.  If my brother came up to me and said, "Krissy, I am the Lord."  I would have second thoughts as well.  It wasn't until after the resurrection  that James believed that Jesus is the Messiah.

James is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  One of the significant things that James presents in this Epistle is “Trials.” Trials takes us out of our comfort zone but James says, “my brethern count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (1:2). Count means to evaluate or to consider. God knows the outcome, and as Christians we have to look beyond the circumstance and look for the spiritual benefit.  God uses both trials and suffering to test our faith, so that we may learn to patiently endure.  My favorite verse of all is, “for when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when our endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything” (1:3-4).  I was the type that would worry about certain situations.  James makes it clear that instead of worrying one should start praying immediately.  

I had an encouraging teacher he pulled me aside after one class and said, “Kristina you thought you were taking this class to get your internship cut in half, but God had you to take this class for another reason.” He was right, I can’t tell you how many times I cried in class or while I was studying.  Our teacher stated, “I’m not teaching this class just to give you a grade.” Speaking of grade, I ended up getting a good grade.  God was really ministering to me in this class. If I were to break the book of James down it would consist of:  Trials and Temptations, Faith, and The Untamable Tongue.  

Temptations:  God allows temptations but does not allow sin.  James says, the enemy will tempt us becuase he knows what we are lured by. e.g., physical desires and temptations.  We sometimes do things to applause man instead of God. 

Faith:  faith produces works.  Satan is always there to trick you.  James says, “What does it profit a person to have faith, but no works?  Unbelievers want to see by our actions (live it out).   

Untamable tongue:  The tongue can do a lot of damage.  As proud as you may think you are, your tongue can do a lot of damage. Have you ever thought of a small spark in a fire that cannot be put out?  It can be started carelessly.  Fire is a good thing, but it can escape and get out of control.  Our tongues can also be like fire. (DANGEOURS).  James is not saying to be quiet but to be controlled, “when someone talks about somebody chances are they are talking about you.”