James, the son of Zebedee, was considered incorruptible by the Jews because he obeyed the laws brought down by Moses better than they. James, along with his brother John and also Peter were the only disciples to be there when Jairus’s daughter was brought back (Mark 5:35-43), in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) and at Jesus’s transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-2). James was called the brother of Jesus(Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3). James was also known as camel-kneed because be believed in the power of prayer. He was frequently found in the temple on his knees praying. Jesus called James and his brother John Boanerges, which is Sons of Thunder(Mark 3:17). Jesus called them this because of their boldness – they once offered to call down fire from heaven to destroy a town that would not welcome Jesus(Luke 9:51-56) King Herrod had James put to death by sword around AD 62.
The book of James was probably written between AD 45-62 and was actually written to the Jewish Christians to help them learn how to live as a Christian. In it James stresses that if you say you’re a Christian, but don’t change your ways what benefit is there for you or to others around you? James believes, and I believe this is true, that the Spirit and the truth of the Gospel will change your life. When we commit ourselves to Christ, through our faith, the deeds of love and kindness will flow.
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; James 1:1-2
Verse 2 in the NIV version calls divers temptations “many trials” but I don’t think it quite fits what divers temptations really means. In the Hebrew dictionary it is
poikilos (poy-kee’-los); of uncertain derivation; motley, i.e. various in character:
When you translate this it means an act or process that is not in harmony, not conforming. It is diverse or various in character. So it is really a variety of unharmonious acts. And we are to count it all joy because when we go through a trial and we give it to God – we let him lead us through it, we build our faith. We have joy because we know the love God has for us, we know he will see us through and with this joy we will glorify God.
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:3-4
The trying of your faith not only builds up your faith, but it teaches you how to endure through the trial. By building our faith and enduring the trial we move one step closer to the goal God would want each of us to strive for, that is to be perfect and entire. This means to be one body without flaw. No, we never will be perfect probably, but that doesn’t mean you should not strive for that. And the closer we get to that goal the less we want, for God will supply our every need. Not our want, but our need.
Do we really need that Jaguar? Or is it something we want? Yes we need a car in order to get to work, carry the groceries or carry the kids. In some cases you don’t need a car at all, but most often when you do that Ford Escort would suffice. Our “want” would be the more expensive car our “need” would be the less expensive car or other form of transportation. That doesn’t mean God won’t make a way for you to have the Jaguar, it just means you don’t need it. So when something happens that paves the way for you to have the jaguar, it’s not because you need it, but because God is rewarding you, it is a blessing and we should thank Him profusely for it. Remember, He can take it away just as easily as he gave it to you.
Always thank God for supplying your needs, no matter how small. It’s the first thing you should do in the morning and it’s the last thing you should do at night and you should thank him when it happens and several times a day between too J I wouldn’t want to think of what might happen if God thought you were ungrateful.
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
So this means that if you lack wisdom you should ask God for it and God will give it to you. God gives to all men who ask. He will give generously and he does not slander you or speak to you in anger or insult you or harm you. Which is what Upbraideth means. The word in Hebrew is: oneidizo (on-i-did’-zo); to defame, i.e. rail at, chide, taunt.
Jesus taught this when he spoke the sermon on the mount.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
God is so wonderful and blessed to offer this to us. Now, its important to understand what the next two verses tell us. Let’s go back to James.
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. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. James 1:6-7
Wow! Now didn’t James just say that God will give generously to those who ask? Didn’t Jesus say that too? Yep! So what does this mean?
It means to ask, knowing that God will give it to you. Ask with faith, nothing wavering. Wavering in Hebrew is diakrino (dee-ak-ree’-no); to separate thoroughly, to withdraw from, or oppose; to discriminate or hesitate. This word really spoke to me when I looked at it. What it said to me is if you don’t ask in faith you yourself don’t believe it is something you need. So if you don’t believe it’s something you need, then God isn’t going to believe it’s something you need. Which explains why in verse 7 its says let not that man, referring to the one who does not ask in faith, let not that man think that he will receive something from God. If you ask and you have doubt, and you still get it then it will be by God’s grace alone. And that tells me that if you haven’t been following the word of God or you haven’t asked forgiveness for something, then you probably aren’t going to get it, unless God decides to bless you for something you have done right. Only God really knows the answer to that.
See many people say “Well, I’ve prayed for this to come about, but God hasn’t given it to me yet” My first question to them from now on is going to be “Did you ask for it with faith, or did you have doubt? Did you hesitate when you asked God, thinking he’s not going to do it?”
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8
The Hebrew word for double minded is dipsuchos (dip’-soo-khos); two-spirited, i.e. vacillating. Vacillating is to sway through lack of equilibrium: to waver in mind, will, or feeling : hesitate in choice of opinions or courses
So a double minded man is unstable because he can’t stay focused, he can’t make up his mind. If we look back on verse 7 and apply this it could be saying that you could ask in faith one minute, but if you don’t get it right away you just automatically loose faith and give up and then you say “Well God didn’t think I deserve it” or “God didn’t answer my prayer”. But we are supposed to continue praying
In Romans 12:12 Paul says we are to Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and continue to pray.
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Romans 12:12
And in Colossians he says we are to continue in prayer, continue to watch and give thanks.
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Colossians 4:2