Tag Archives: James

James 1: 19-25 How Faith Works in Receiving the Word

Since the Scripture is so important to living out the Faith, we must know how to receive it properly and beneficially. James gives 3 staccato commands. 1) be quick to hear; 2) be slow to speak; 3) be slow to anger. Someone once observed that we have two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we speak. Our ears are always open while the mouth has two rows of teeth and two lips to keep it shut. It is the fool in Proverbs who does not listen but only vents his own opinions (17:27; 18:2; 29:11, 20).

1. Without anger (v.19-20)

We’ve got to listen to the Word and learn before speaking. The idea is to be teachable and receptive to the Word of truth that gave us life. But there are some things in the Word that are offensive, that we do not like. We must be slow to anger. Both quick-temperedness and talking when you should be listening are signs of immaturity and lacking wisdom (v.4-5). God uses trials to give us these, but we must be receiving the Word for those trials to be of benefit. It is not suffering itself that grows us, but suffering guided by the Word. Sometimes it’s the suffering that causes the anger. In either case, we must not be hot-heads (Proverbs 14:29; 15:18). The goal is righteousness, godliness, spiritual maturity. Man’s anger does not produce righteousness. It is not going to help us. To receive the Word so it is profitable to righteousness, we must be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.

James 1: 13-18 How Faith Works in Resisting Temptation

1. By not blaming God (v.13)

Every trial has its temptations. In fact, the same Greek word is used for trials in v.2-12 as for temptations in v.13-15. When enduring trials, there are the temptations to not be steadfast, to doubt and to not follow God’s ways. Likewise, every temptation is a trial of our faith and obedience. James has made it clear that God tries us. Does it follow that He tempts us also? God is sovereign over all things, including my temptations, but God NEVER entices me to do evil. This is actually the point of Jesus’ instruction about prayer in Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Temptations to sin are inherent in the trials God does lead us into so we are to pray for deliverance from the former while enduring the latter. Praying in this way helps me to “watch and pray that [I] may not enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). If, however, I blame God for my temptations and believe that He is luring me into sin, I will not resist temptation. I will turn God’s sovereignty into an evil fatalism that blasphemes God and destroys me. Real faith doesn’t work that way.

The Epistle of James

ducksIt was Sunday morning in Duckland, and all the ducks dutifully came to church, waddling through the doors and down the aisle into their pews where they comfortably squatted. When all were well-settled, and the hymns were sung, the duck minister waddled into his pulpit, opened the Duck Bible and read: “Ducks! You have wings, and with wings you can fly like eagles. You can soar into the sky! Use your wings!” It was a marvellous, elevating duck scripture, and thus all the ducks quacked their assent with a hearty, “Amen!” – and then they plopped down from their pews and waddled home.
-attributed to Soren Kierkegaard