Interestingly, the very last sentence of the Book of James is "My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth, and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). I don't think it was by chance that James put that sentence at the end of the chapter. It is our responsibility as Christians to bring people to the church, but how do we do that? I think he intended to place that sentence at the end to show us that the previous lessons he taught are crucial for leading people to God. Why would anyone want to learn more about our religion if they see us acting in a way that is not aligned with Christian values?
I wrote this paragraph in my introduction for James: "Jeff Cavins said the reason why this study is called "Pearls for Wise Living" is because James was a pastor of a large church in Jerusalem, and he had a very popular teaching style where he sat with disciples and moved very quickly from one topic to another. This style of teaching was thought of as "stringing pearls." At first glance it seems like there are many different pieces of wisdom in there, but when you look at it as a whole, it's really one big masterpiece showing how you should live your life, in the same way that pearls are strung together to make a beautiful necklace."
Now that I have read through all of James, it definitely ties together and I can appreciate his way of showing people how to live out their faith. This has been an amazing study, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a Bible study for their church to do. My husband and I have gained so much from it, and I know that I have A LOT to work on!!! Here are some of the big messages in James about how we should live out our lives:
- Be joyful in the midst of trials, as it will lead to perseverance and perfection in Christ (1: 2-4)
- Ask the Lord for wisdom if you need it, and God will generously give it to you (1: 5)
- Ask for things in faith (1:6)
- Don't focus on money. It will mean nothing once you die (1:11)
- Persevere through temptations (1:12)
- Recognize that every single good thing is from God and that we should be thankful for all of it (1:17)
- Be quick to listen to the Lord, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Anger will absolutely not accomplish the righteousness of God (1:20)
- Do not just read the Bible, ACT on what you read (1:22)
- Do not show partiality (2:1-13)
- Your faith means nothing if you do not have good works (2:14-26)
- Be very mindful of the things you say. Words are harmful and one small thing could cause a lot of damage (3:1-11)
- God should be your source of happiness. Love Him and not the things of this earth, as loving the things of the world makes you an enemy of God (4:4).
-"So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." (4:7-8)
-Be remorseful for your sins (4:9)
- A humble heart will cause the Lord to exalt you (4:10)
- Do not talk badly about or judge others (4:11-12)
- Do not be presumptuous about plans for your future (4:13-16). Have this attitude about life: "Instead you should say, 'if the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that' " (4:15)
- It is a sin to know the right thing to do and not do it (4:17).
- Be Patient (5:7)
- Do not complain (5:9)
- Pray. About everything. ( 5:13-15)
- Confess your sins for healing (5:16)