Ch. 1 of The Book of James
It has been over three decades since I surrendered my life to serve as a full-time minister for Christ. I did not realize at the time just how wonderful that calling would be. It has been a life of faith which has led me to a work of love.
I have had an opportunity to serve many wonderful people while serving the Lord. Among these precious souls are literally thousands of alcoholics and drug addicts, all of whom I love dearly. As I began to relate to their addictions, God began teaching me lessons through their experiences. It was one of these life lessons that brought me to the book of James.
Spiritually, I was a young Christian on a mission trip with my first pastor. We were at a Christian drug and alcohol treatment center called The Home of Grace in Vancleave, MS (founded by Dr. Bill Barton, for whom this book is dedicated). It was recreation time and the men had chosen to play a game of slow pitch softball. For the most part, we weren’t that good and the rivalry was not intense but it was a lot of fun.
It was our turn to bat. While on deck I was talking with the catcher from the other team. The catcher and the man at bat were both alcoholics. The pitch came and the batter took a swing at the ball twice before it crossed the plate. Jokingly, the catcher looked at me and said, “Just like an alcoholic, can’t wait on nothin’”.
What he said was meant for a joke, but even in the midst of the laughter the words rang true. How needful is it for the church of the living God to have patience?
We have grown up in what I call a “throwaway society” where we have instant breakfast, instant coffee, and instant gratification, just to name a few. Yet our God is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, a concept of endurance, a constant in an ever-changing world. We, too, must learn to endure and have the patience to become what God has ordained us to be. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes when it comes to learning patience. It takes time. You must go through the trials. (James 1:2-4), it is the only way.
I pray this worksheet will be a help to you as you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May we receive wisdom on “learning how to wait” together. Take what you learn from this lesson and apply it to your life. “Be a doer of the word and not a hearer only.” (James 1:22) Remember, these are “words you can live by”.
Let me remind you of a couple of things our Lord Jesus had to say about the Word of God in the Gospel of John:
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
And ye shall know the truth,
And the truth shall make you free.
James, Chapter 1
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Lesson Study No. 1
Before you begin this worksheet, read James 1:1-11 and then “ask God for wisdom”. (James 1:5)
“Learning How to Wait”
- (James 1:1) Who does James serve as his Lord?
Is Jesus Christ the Lord of your life?
(Before you answer, take time to consider the words spoken by our Savior in (Luke 6:46), “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?”
- (James 1:2-3) What are we supposed to do when temptations (trials) come our way?
What happens to us when our faith is tried (tested)?
Note: Verse 2 says when, not if, we fall into various trials. “When” means trials will come your way. “Trials” means there will be more than one.
This might be a good time to pause and thank God for what He is teaching you through the situation you are in right now. “Count it all joy…”
3. (James 1:4)
Why is it important to have patience?
(Matthew 5: 43-48)
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
What must we do to be perfect (mature) as our Father in Heaven?
A lot of things in our lives must be learned by experience. (Ex: how to walk, how to talk, how to eat, etc.) Few people, if any, learned to walk without falling down at least once. It is called trial and error. A person learns to pronounce words by first listening and then repeating them again and again. Sooner or later a complete sentence is made. It takes time. It takes a lot of practice (many trials) to master the basic life skills. The same is true in our spiritual lives. The Christian walk is also learned one step at a time.
- (James 1:5) What do we need to do if we lack wisdom in any area of our life?
Note: We are asking for God’s wisdom, the wisdom to overcome situations (trials) in our lives by the application of His Word.
How does God give?
Look up the word “upbraid” in the dictionary and write out the definition. Remember, God upbraideth not.
(James 1:6-8) How should we ask for wisdom, or anything else from God?
What happens when we ask God for something and then begin to waver (doubt)?
What does verse 8 say about a double-minded man?
- (James 1:9-11) What happens to the man that pursues the riches of this world?
Read (Matthew 6:25-33). Take special note of verse 33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Godliness has to do with your relationship with God and righteousness has to do with your relationship with man. The child of God must have priorities. God first, people second, and then the things will be added. If you put things first, you will wind up using people to get things and God will be nowhere in the picture.
Have you ever used someone to get what you wanted?
Are you still doing it?
Have you repented?
Pray for wisdom to seek the things of God and not the things (riches) of this world.
Make a list of some things you need to get in order.
- Write down some truths you have learned from this lesson and how you can apply those truths to your life. Remember, these are “words you can live by.”
- Memory verse: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5