Reflections on the Epistle of James.
The Gestation Period!
I must be honest, James was one of the toughest book of the Bible I have studied thus far. When I started reading the Epistle of James I started out, as usual looking for Jesus. It shocks me to realise that it took me nine months to work through the Book.
Nine months! One of the shortest books of the Bible.
But I don’t have to explain the significance of nine months, the gestation period. Forty weeks. Our loving Father speaks into and through everything. It took me forty weeks to read James. It took forty weeks to prepare my heart. It took forty weeks to create in me a new life, a new hunger, a new thirst.
the process or period of developing inside the womb between conception and birth.
synonyms: pregnancy, development, incubation, maturation, ripening; More
the development of something over a period of time.
“a thorough and painstaking work which was a long time in gestation”
Finding Jesus in James
My aim, when I started ‘Finding the Word’ was exactly that, find Jesus. Finding Jesus in James wasn’t easy at all. I considered abandoning the task (on more than one occasion) but I persisted. The Holy Spirit persisted and kept drawing my thoughts back to James’ words, James’ themes, James’ style and James, and Jesus.
The Bible assures us that when we seek Jesus, we will find Him.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart – Jeremiah 29:13
But if from there you will seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul – Deuteronomy 4:29
For this is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: “Seek Me and live! – Amos 5:4
The journey was worth it. I definitely found Jesus. I encountered Jesus. I was confronted with the Truth of Jesus. Through the brother of James, the man who prayed so much he had camel-knees, the man who died with Jesus on his lips – I found Jesus everywhere in his writing, everywhere.
The book of James, without Jesus, makes no sense. Without Jesus, the book of James is a self-help, do-good book. With Jesus. it is life-changing. Without Jesus the advice that James provides is impossible to follow. Without Jesus, James is like a litany of New-Years resolutions – great to read, great to try, but impossible to do. James gives us instructions that we can only follow if we are living the Spirit-led, Spirit-filled life that Paul speaks of. Unless we have submitted to the authority of Christ in our lives, unless we have been filled with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit we simply cannot live the life that James describes.
I cannot tame my tongue!
Without the Holy Spirit leading me, encouraging me and guiding me, I am foul-mouthed, impulsive, mean and self-righteous. Without Jesus I can justify every word that I speak. I can convince myself that my nastiness was deserved and justified. But with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, I am no longer trying to achieve the unacheiveable.
It will always be difficult to tame my tongue, to speak lovingly, to be quiet when I am angry – but under the guidance and encouragement of the Holy Spirit I am not doing this alone. I am guided and assisted, my Counselor is with me and in me. My Advocate is slowing me, calming me, restraining me and lovingly convicting me.
There is no condemnation. There is only loving guidance and forgiveness.
It is only through Jesus that I am able to tame my tongue.
In Desperate Need of Wisdom
I am in desperate need of Wisdom. It has become so clear that we are all looking for Wisdom, looking for advice looking for guidance. James makes it very clear that we need to find our Wisdom from above, and not below. I know that I have often looked to the ‘World’ for Wisdom, to the self-help books, to the inspirational speakers, to the business writers – James warns us that worldly wisdom will always lead to chaos.
Today, think about where you are looking for guidance and where that guidance it is taking you. Perhaps this is the time to turn to God, to pray through His Son, Jesus, for the Wisdom that you so desperately desire. Perhaps you too find yourself in the same place, learning the same lessons over and over again. Perhaps this is the clear sign that you need, from above – that you need to seek the Wisdom from above.
Perhaps you need Jesus. Today.
James teaches us about Prayer. He tells us to pray in Faith, he tells us to pray without doubting. This too is impossible without the Holy Spirit. James was a prayerful man, known to be on his knees before the Father. He encourages us, not just through his words but through his actions. We see in James an example of living out the Christian life.
I have found the Epistle of James to be life-changing.
Yes, it was the most difficult book to read. James seems to wander all over the place as he writes – it was in that wandering that I had to focus and ask ‘What is God trying to show me here?’
It was through my frustration with James’ style of writing that I was led to think, to meditate and to purposefully consider the words of Truth.
I am so grateful for James. I am so grateful for what the Lord has done in my heart over this gestation period. I am so grateful that the Lord Jesus is available, alive and active in my life. I am so grateful that through the Spiritual, Father-filled, Jesus-centered and Holy-Spirit activated words of James, that my life has been changed.
Can I encourage you today to spend time in the Book of James? Can I assure you that this Word is alive and active.
Jesus is calling, Jesus in knocking. Will you answer the call?
Hebrews 4:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.