This past week was the start a new study at Hello Mornings – Establish Your Hearts by Jenni Keller. It has surprised me with reminders as surely as life surprises us each day. And yet, nothing surprises our God who is waiting to meet us right in the midst of it all.
And so this week, I was reminded …
- We each need to a revelation of Jesus. Sibling relationships can be challenging. Probably none more so than for James, who was the 1/2 brother of Jesus. James way only able to embrace Jesus’ identity after the resurrection. We will each need our own encounter with Jesus. “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.” (John 7:5, NIV)
- There are those whom you will be the only one able to reach. James stayed in Jerusalem to lead the Jewish believers. There were major shifts in thinking, and a leader was needed. A leader with a head full of biblical knowledge, a vision, and a heart of inclusion and compassion. James was the one they trusted. “… James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me.”
(Acts 15:13, NLT)
- The twelve tribes. In the first verse of this book, James states, “I am writing to the “twelve tribes – Jewish believers scattered abroad.” These are the Jews who scattered during the Diaspora, Jews dispersed outside of Israel over the course of time. Let’s think about this a little … we, too, now living as Christians, are scattered throughout the nations. The book of James, always known for its wisdom, may just be what we need to show us how to live in this world with all the challenges it presents to us. How do we live here and not absorb the worldly lifestyle and thinking? How do we put our faith into practice?
- We are no different. James was writing to a people who were new believers; going through troubles; gave special attention to the rich; were experiencing quarrels and jealousy among themselves; and had wrong motives in prayer. And that is just for starters. Yet they truly were no different than we are now. Is it no wonder we so need the book of James today? Maybe more than ever, we need to grow in wisdom. My prayer for all of us is that as we read and study, we would apply Scriptures to our lives so that we grow to become a people, wise in God’s ways and able to communicate His truths to those around us.
- Faith. How does James define faith for us? In a nutshell, our faith should propel us to do good works. We are called to love in action. John Piper states: “Faith alone unites us to Christ for righteousness, and the faith that unites us to Christ for righteousness does not remain alone. It bears the fruit of love.”
James, he is already provoking much thought. Hopefully he will continue to stir our hearts and minds for weeks to come!