Hello Beautiful People!
Its amazing to see so many of you on board with the James Challenge having done the #EstherChallenge , #RuthChallenge and #LWChallenge. For those that still don’t know what it is, don’t worry! The James Challenge is a 5 day challenge, where we read the 5 chapters in the book of James in the Bible! It is not just about reading, I would love for us to share our understanding of what we have read with each other, so as you read, feel free to hashtag #JamesChallenge if you have twitter. In addition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your notes for each chapter, or a summary and I will put it up on this blog page!
I have a heart for people and being there to help them connect with God’s word and find their identity in it. I REALLY do believe that God will use ANY platform to make His word and glory known to the masses. He is the God of yesterday, now and tomorrow, the ‘I am, that I am’, He knows the latest technology and is ready to use it as long as He has willing vessels (US). So be the light everywhere, even on social media, you never know who is reading or who is touched by your encouraging words.
The book of James really focuses on our attitudes and behaviours as Christians which I believe is so key in really getting the most out of our Christian walk and abiding in God’s will for us! I look forward to the next 5 days and I am always eager to learn from you all!
Day One – Chapter One
KEY POINTS FOR ME:
Joy in all things:
‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds’ (verse 2)
Many of you know that this past month has been very tough for me, in dealing with the loss of my cousin. I received so many kind words, messages and scriptures especially those telling me to ‘rejoice always’. James has reinforced this by telling believers to consider it joy in whatever they are going through. To ‘consider it joy’ is not to pretend you are having fun in the middle of a difficult time. No, it is to base your joy on the promise of what God intends to do with the trial – producing perseverance a strengthening and testing of your faith. Not only that, but through your perseverance brings completion.
I repeat: don’t compare the market [dot] com
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.
Its very easy to look and compare yourself with others when you are going through a difficult time, or to compare our trial with theirs. We all have trials that God allows us to go through. It will not help us to compare ourselves to others. It is tempting to believe that our trials are so much worse or really not that bad. Either way, we end up not focusing on God’s presence and we lose the desire to persevere which in turn makes us miss out on the completion that verse 4 talks about. James wants to help his readers not get distracted into comparing themselves with those around them.
I appreciate this word because I know that I struggle with comparisons. I can dwell on being envious of others that I think do not suffer as I do. Or, I can see someone who is going through a horrible time and I fear that I may end up there or am mainly relieved that “at least I am not dealing with…” The good news that James wants us to grasp is that God can be God to all of us in the middle of whatever. He does not allow us to go through anything that He cannot redeem and heal and use to bring us to a fullness in Him that is currently beyond our imagination. I don’t need to compare because in each trial, big or small, we all need to grow, by God’s grace, to trust Him 100%.
What fruit are you producing? What seed has been planted? Time to do some gardening!
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
As believers we ought to produce certain fruits! Galatians 5:22-23 But the production of these fruits are dependent on what has been planted and what needs to be uprooted. James says in verse 21 that we need to accept the word planted in us which can save us. The word of God is powerful to save. The word of God communicates the heart and mind of God, giving us something to check our hearts and minds against. The word of God is an excellent guide and we need to read, meditate on and LIVE out the word of God (verse 22). Living out the word of God is to put it into practice. Not just to be readers and hearers of the word, but to be doers. Its quite simple tbh.
This CONVICTED me on another level
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
With our mouths we can kill more lives than the hands of a murderer. Our words, whatever we communicate carries power – power to destroy or to build. What is it that proceeds from your mouth that is detrimental to another person? This convicted me because it is very easy for me to make sweeping statements, or speak/write carelessly without thinking about the impact it has on the hearer or the reader, moreover, I forget who it is I am representing – the most High. Food for though ayy!
Lastly, James talks about Christianity in a practical way. Christianity is not just about you saying a 2 minute prayer, attending church, and reading the word, it is also about being a help to those that are less fortunate. Being the light in in a dark world. Ultimately, it is about displaying love, like Jesus did. Jesus didn’t chill with the ‘holy ones’ (Pharisees), instead he spent time with those deemed as outcasts in society! Yes it is good to surround yourself with like minded people, but let that not take you to a place of pride whereby you think you’re too holy to help those in genuine need.
What Everyone Else Doing James Challenge Has Learned:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)” if you’re going through hard times, don’t complain. place all of your trust in God and learn a lesson from it. too many times we are looking for all of the negatives in our lives and are quick to place the blame on everyone and everything for the pain that we are going through, including God. however, James 1:13-14 states that you can’t be making God the cause of your current situation. whatever you’re going through is caused by your own actions and your sinful nature. God is only LETTING it happen to you because He knows that you can go through it, and He knows (yea it’s going to sound super cliche) that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. remember that God will NEVER give you anything that you cannot bear (the story of Job!). if you have this in mind as you go through a hard situation, then you will always be motivated to keep your head up and not give in to the negative thoughts. the outcome? a better, stronger you, with new experience and more spiritual possibilities. God tells us that “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NIV)” which can be any tough situation.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:12, 19, 20 NIV)” As you go through your trials, it is also important to remember to keep your emotions in the right place. yes we are humans and yes it is natural for us to get angry, but it is also natural for us to sin soooo that’s not really an excuse… you should not have any dark feeling inside of you. the Joy of God should overcome it. if you feel like you are angry with someone or something, do not show it with your words. instead, step aside, say a prayer, calm yourself down and keep going with a fresh and clean mind. anger blinds you and God tells us to always have our eyes open. so the control of emotions is a very very important thing.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22 NIV)” hey, this verse can be applied to me and all of you who are reading this right now! we are talking about God and His word tryina find lessons and break down the scriptures but it’s not limited to just talking/writing/reading. just as I should apply to my life what I am talking about here so should you. don’t be a hypocrite! it is hard at times, but God doesn’t like hypocrites. do your best to give your own living example of what you’re preaching or listening to. and when you study your Bible, or listening to a Bible lesson at church – don’t just swallow it and forget it. chew on it till you get all of the nutrients and USE them in the right situations. practicing Gods advices will make you stronger as you go through troubles and tribulations, and it will give you control over your emotions.
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:26, 27 NIV)” again God is telling us that He does not like hypocrites. you can’t be preaching about His word, or be shouting “yeeaaaaasssss! preach preacher!” at church, or be posting scriptures and then go right to a club to twerk your life away to Bow down… you can’t be doing all of that and then go behind your brother’s back talking dirt on him. you can’t be trying to play a Christian while you passionately hate your neighbor. all of this does not coexist with the word “Christian”! of course we are not perfect. but stop using that as an excuse! Jesus didn’t just come here to live His earthly life because He was bored… He did it to give us an example of how we should be STRIVING to be. so never stop trying to perfect yourself. never stop trying to separate yourself from the world.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17 NKJV)
This verse caught my attention, it was a personal meaning to me I tend to have doubt in my heart and that causes me to miss blessings and miracles, I’ve realised that I need to realise that everything happens for a purpose gifts from god comes unannounced but has loud entrance. – Naomi Eze