Before you jump into James

We love this quick and easy overview of the book of James by Certa author Linda Knight. You can read along here or listen on Spotify here.

This New Testament book is Oh so practical in nature. It was written by James, the oldest brother of Jesus. After his conversion, he became a pillar of the Christian church in Jerusalem and was widely known. His opening lines direct this letter to the dispersed Jewish Christians who had been scattered abroad after the death of Stephen (Acts 7:54-60). James is referred to many times in the New Testament as Jesus appeared to him personally after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7), was known as a pillar in the church (Galatians 2:9), was visited by Paul on various occasions, was Paul’s first choice of whom to tell upon being released from prison, (Acts 12:17), was important in the Jerusalem Council recorded in Acts 15:13, was the brother of Jude (Jude 1:1) and history records that he was martyred in A.D. 62.

His short letter of 5 Chapters is packed with practical knowledge and instruction on how to live out a life committed to Christ that is filled with faith and good works. James was a servant of Christ and desired that those following Jesus serve Him wholeheartedly. It is filled with wisdom on how to treat others, tame the tongue and submit to God. If you desire to learn to think biblically it is a great book to memorize. The truths will permeate your being and infuse godly thinking into your mind. As James would say, it leads to solid faith and good works that show our love for God as we serve Him. Here are a few of my most favorite verses that have transformed my thinking.

James 1:2-4 talks about attitude and the results of trusting all of life’s events to God.  “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1: 5-6 instructs us to go to the source of all wisdom when we need answers but to do it with faith!  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 1:17 confirms the immutability of God. He also assures us that God is good in all He gives. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

James 1:19-20 instructs us to control our anger.  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

James 2:1 begins his teaching on treating others with impartiality. “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” He concludes this chapter with words about faith and good works. “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (2:14)

James 3 delves into the harm and good that we can do with our tongues!  “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (3:6)

James 4:7-8 is one of my favorite promises as it shows us clearly the way to draw near to God. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

In his last chapter James talks about the whining rich, the need for patience and the importance of prayer. James 5:15-16 encourages us in our prayer life! “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Which of these nuggets of wisdom do you need today? Are you struggling with trials in your life and need the perspective of joy? Are you concerned that God is perhaps whimsical and will change His mind about your salvation? Are you being confronted with favoritism, gossip or want to know how to get closer to God? Are you struggling with prayer and asking yourself why pray? James is a book that can be read, meditated upon and digested slowly so that the truths contained therein will permeate your life and allow the Holy Spirit to change you from the inside out.

Be encouraged today by the practicality of James and how he makes faith in Christ applicable to our daily walk with Jesus.

Check out these resources from Linda knight:

We live in a world filled with uncertainty, stressful situations, demanding circumstances, and even challenging people. In Promises for Dynamic Living, you will discover the specific promises which God has provided for you through His Word.

200 pages | $13.99

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Fearless Living is a unique, reflective journey that leads the reader from looking at the world, circumstances, events with fear to a place of trust in God. Each day the reader is offered a passage of scripture, a reflective thought and a prayer to combat fear and build our faith.

172 pages | $13.99

Shop now

Paul’s Choice: How one decision reverberated through the ages

Did you know that the apostle Paul felt unqualified and unskilled as a public speaker? He mentions his insecurities several times in his writings:

I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! (2 Cor. 10:1)

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. (2 Cor 11:6)

For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”  (2 Cor. 10:10)

What if Paul had put his writing on hold in order to work on his public speaking? Can’t you imagine him in today’s world… watching Ted Talks, taking speech classes at his local community college and practicing in the mirror at home? He quickly sends off an email to encourage a church but then refocuses on his speaking. Yet each time he sends these emails, he gets deluged with encouragement. Paul, keep these coming man! I love your writing! or Dude, there’s a special anointing when you write… you should write more! Paul appreciates the comments but turns his thoughts back to his speaking deficiencies. He eventually improves and is pleased that he has been able to share the Gospel with his community.

But no one is recording his speeches. They’re not on Facebook Live. They won’t go viral on YouTube. Yes, they will have an immediate impact, but will soon be forgotten.

Aren’t we glad that Paul didn’t take this approach? What an incredible loss for the Church through the ages. Imagine if at least 13 books of the Bible didn’t exist. It is hard to comprehend possessing a Bible without such transcendent verses as:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (Corinthians 13:1)

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:3 )

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 )

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

Can you relate somewhat to Paul? Perhaps writing comes easily to you. Typing up a meaningful blog entry or social media post is a breeze. People often compliment your work and encourage you to do more. And yet, you long for a different gift. A more visible skill. The talent you see in someone else.

I Peter 4:10 exhorts us to use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Could it be that God withheld the skill of public speaking from Paul, so that instead he would pick up a pen? Did God look down through time and see you and I studying the Pauline epistles, gleaning from his writing? Was Paul’s lack of oratory skills actually a gift to the Body? Then let us consider our own lives and God’s sovereign design for each of us. Let’s embrace our strengths and use them to the Glory of God, leaving behind our yearnings for other talents.

At Certa Publishing, we strive to see our writers as God sees them… gifted and anointed for His purposes. And through our partner publishing model, we are able to come alongside you in this process, becoming your biggest cheerleader and supporter. We would love to know how we can help you. Contact us today.