There are many seasons in life and prayer is essential to them all. Whether crushed or rejoicing James invites us to seek the One in whom all life and hope are found.
Patience may be a virtue but it doesn't come naturally to any of us. No one likes waiting, especially when facing suffering or uncertainty. But as with all things, God uses waiting for His glory. James shows us how to wait well: with eyes on the Lord and hope in His amazing grace to us in Christ Jesus.
So often we feel helpless before those who have greater status, power, and wealth. We may even suffer deprivation and oppression at their hands. But God gives a warning to the “big guy” that his eye is on the “little guy” and that He is able to deliver them through the Savior who suffered ultimate oppression in our place.
Sometimes we willfully disobey the Lord. We know something is wrong and we do it anyway. Much more often, we simply forget to think of God at all. We live our lives as if he doesn’t exist, and left to our own wisdom we sin grievously against him and one another. Our only hope is to trust in the One who never forgot the will of his Father and who enables us to remember him by his grace.
What do relational conflicts, inward frustration, and worldly distraction have in common? They all result when selfish desires dominate our thinking. In our pride, we want what we want and the results are disastrous. James says the answer is brokenness before the Lord. Only through humble submission and repentance will we be restored through the One who was supremely broken for us, Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9). James, too, affirms the importance of peacemaking within the church. But peacemaking is often replaced by two common counterfeits: “peace-faking” and “peace-breaking.” Only the Lord Jesus can enable us to pursue genuine peacemaking for his glory and our good.
Not every believer possesses every spiritual gift or strength, but every believer has access to the wisdom of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, God enables us to reject the world’s counterfeit wisdom and receive true wisdom from heaven that produces a life of righteousness and peace.
James says the tongue is the most dangerous part of the body. Though small, it has the power to destroy our lives and the lives of everyone around us. Worst of all, it is untamable by man. Is there any hope for redeeming the tongue? Yes, through the One who always spoke what was pleasing to the Father and who can enable us to do so by his grace!
Many Christians understand the danger of trusting in works apart from faith, but fewer understand the danger of trusting in faith apart from works! James helps us see that true saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ always shows itself through works. It never merely ascents mentally, or professes verbally, but acts obediently through the grace of the One who set us free.
No one likes being treated unfairly. This universal truth doesn't originate in mere self-interest; it is woven into our DNA as beings made in the image of a God who shows no favoritism. Left to ourselves we would deny others both justice and mercy, but through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we may display both through the One who bore infinite justice to extend us infinite mercy.