An interesting overview of James 1.
In chapter 1 of James epistle, we are introduced to seven different men. Useful lessons can be gleaned from a consideration of these. Of the seven, several have positive traits we can emulate, while others serve as examples of negative characteristics we do well to avoid.
1. In verses 2-4 we are introduced to the Incomplete Man. Paul, in his writings, likens the Christian life to a long-distance race. When I first went to college, work on a bridge that was to link the library with an-other academic building had to be halted in mid-construction due to lack of funds. We of course, dubbed it the “bridge to nowhere.” As believers, our lives should not be “half-built bridges to nowhere.” We are His workmanship (poema), created by God unto good works (Eph 2.10). James links patience in the face of temptations, better translated trials or testings, with completeness or maturity. Circumstances in life rarely present themselves as an absolutely smooth garden path, and the compelling interest of the writer in verses 2-4 of our chapter is to exhort the believers to lives of endurance, when the pathway becomes difficult and strewn with obstacles.
2. James also tells us of the Insufficient Man. “If any of you lack wisdom …” (v. 5). Certainly we can all confess our lack of wisdom in the deep things of God. Even Paul wrote, “and who is sufficient for these things” (2 Cor 2.16). James suggests a remedy though, “If any lack, let him ask of God.” Let us then ask of Him who is a liberal giver, being assured that, “our sufficiency is of God” (2 Cor 3:5).
3. The third man is outlined in vs. 6-8 and I have titled him theInconsistent Man. He is “driven with the wind and tossed.” It is important for each of us as believers to be consistent in life before the Lord, as well as before the watching eyes of those round about us. Paul, the indomitable apostle, wrote autobiographically, “I press toward the mark” (Phil 3.14). Again, “…lest I myself should be a castaway” (I Cor 9.27). Pauls words to the saints were: “Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor 15.58).
4. The fourth man, is the Inauspicious Man. He is the brother of “low degree,” and the word to this unnoticed man is, “let him rejoice, in that he is exalted” (v.9). In thinking about the fourth man, the temple scene from Luke 21 comes to mind. There, most of the attention was focused on men of wealth, but the eye of the Lord was following the widow and her two mites. The righteous assessment of her deed from the lips of our beloved Lord was, “This poor widow hath cast in more than they all” (Luke 21.3). We are thus assured that the Lord notes the exercise of the most inconspicuous heart, and that every deed and desire will be justly rewarded in that day when “every mans work shall be made manifest” (I Cor 3.13).
5. In verse 12 we come face to face with the Intrepid Man. This is the man that endures trials and shows bravery in the face of danger. Do we exhibit that confident reliance upon the living God when called to face a situation that seems beyond our capabilities to handle?
Concluded next month. God willing.