Part 3: The Study of James — James 1:19–27
James was the half brother of Jesus. James became the leader of the Jerusalem church after Peter’s arrest and departure from Jerusalem.
IDEA: Just Do It!
In verse 19, James refers to the recipients of this letter as Brothers and Sisters. This is the third time in this chapter. The blood of Jesus unites Christ-followers. We have unlimited access to God the Father because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
James 1:18 says, “He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”
We were given new life because of Jesus and are God’s prized possession so much that Jesus did not die for buildings or animals, but rather people.
1. You Must Be Receptive To God’s Word. vs.19–21
In order to be receptive to God’s Word, we must develop these four areas:
v.19b — We Must Develop A Capacity to Listen. — Quick to Listen
What are the things that keep us from hearing? How often do I listen to God and others?
How can I improve my listening skills?
v.19c — We Must Develop A Controlled Tongue. — Slow to Speak
Psalm 141:3 says, “Take control of what I say, O lord, and guard my lips.”
v.19d — We Must Develop A Calm Demeanor. — Slow to Get Angry
Read verse 20.
Ephesians 4:26–27 says, “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”
v.21a — We Must Develop A Clean Life. — Get rid of all filth and evil
The word for “filth” means “ear wax” in the greek.
Psalm 119:37 says, “Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.”
In verse 21, James encourages the church to humbly accept the word. The word accept literally means “to welcome” showing hospitality.
This word is used for how we receive others into our homes.
We must cultivate a heart and life that welcomes the word. This is the only way to live the life God has planned for us.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
The word of God slices and dices like nothing else. It reveals and removes anything that does not bring glory to God. Paul encourages the church to take the sword as you prepare for battle.
Ephesians 6:17 says, “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Are there things or people in your life today that you need to get rid of?
2. You Must Be Submissive To God’s Word. vs.22–25
In verse 22, we find that Submission Requires A Response.
Luke 11:28 says, “Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
Many Christ-followers hear the Word, receive it, but do not take the next step to do what the Word commands. We are to put it into practice.
Psalm 119:5 says, “Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!”
James says, that you deceive yourself if you only hear the Word but do not do it. How many people live in this deception their whole life hearing and hearing, but never even trying to do what they hear! — Johan Oscar Smith
In verses 23–24, James uses a metaphor to describe the workings of the word. Mirrors show us what we really look like. When you look into the mirror, you see the brutal truth. Sometimes I do not want to acknowledge that truth. The word of God will serve as a mirror to show you the truth about yourself. But it will only do you some good if you apply it to your life.
In verse 25, we find that Submission Requires Examination.
Notice that he is not simply talking about someone who merely looks at God’s word. He is talking about someone who looks intently.
The word “Look” means “to stoop down and gaze into” in the greek.
It is the same word that was used to denote the way Peter, John, and Mary stooped down to look into the empty tomb on Resurrection morning in John 20.
Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
In verse 25, we find that Submission Requires Reflection.
Psalm 119:15 says, “I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.”
3. You Must Be Moved By God’s Word. vs.26–27
According to verse 26, we must learn to guard our tongues.
According to verse 27, we must learn to give to others.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” — Mother Teresa
Historically, it has been the church of Jesus Christ has set up hospitals, orphanages, homes for the elderly, and many other social institutions designed to care for the needs of others.
“In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or planning for it. Simply put: Love does!” — Bob Goff
People matter to God. Do people matter to you?
According to verse 27, we must learn to guard our lives. James closes chapter one with these powerful words — refusing to let the world corrupt you.
Have you allowed the world to corrupt you?
Psalm 119:133 says, “Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.”
Make this Psalm your daily prayer.
What from today can you put into practice? What has God said to you? What in your life has kept you from really being able to serve God like you should? What are you willing to do about it? Has God said that you need to calm down? Is there too much anger in your life? Will you make a commitment today to get a handle on that?
By Tim O'Carroll