God blessed the world with the Bible for us to follow. It’s through the gospels we find instructions given to us directly from Jesus, and throughout the New Testament those same instructions are repeated by various writers.
In the short book of James, written by Jesus’ half brother James, we find each of it’s five chapters give specific messages on how to live a Christian life.
At the time of the writing Christians were scattered throughout the Roman world, so James wrote his letter to encourage the dispersed followers to not falter. Although the Bible does not offer much information about James being intricately involved with Jesus before the crucifixion, we find after the resurrection James clearly becomes a leading figure in the early church and shares these five instructions from Jesus.
1.Persever With Joy
James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Jesus desires us to have joy in our hearts at all times. And James is telling us not “if” we have trials, but “whenever” we face trials. Yes, there will always be trials, however, it is our faith in Christ that leads us to preserver. And in that perseverance, in that drive to work through problems, to achieve a sought after goal, to finish this unbelievably hard day knowing tomorrow will be just the same–it is a joy knowing that perseverance to continue comes from Christ.
2. Service Others
James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James is clear that believing in Christ’s teaching alone is not enough. If we call ourselves believers then our hearts should be inclined to create positive action. To truly follow Jesus means we also follow what He did not just what He said. Jesus himself was a “doer.” He healed, ministered, loved, saved, taught, was a friend and so much more. His desire for us is to be the church to others.
3. Tame Your Tongue
James 3:9-12 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
God created our mouths, tongues, and vocal cords. James instructs us not to spew from our God-created-selves words that offend God. These words also include “OMG” and “Oh My G**!”
4. Submit To God
James 4:1-5 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
God desires to have a personal relationship with you. He loves you and wants you to remember Him first and foremost. He doesn’t want us to live selfishly. And when you submit to God you can claim His power, which is above and beyond any power know to mankind.
5. Encourage Believers
James 5:19-20 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
James ends his book by explaining the need to be there for our fellow believers. Just as Jesus told the parable of the shepherd leaving his herd of 99 sheep to go find the one lost sheep, we as believers are to look after our herd. Encourage each other, stay strong in the word together, be there for each other in times of doubt and confusion. That what Jesus wants us to do.
Do you have a personal relationship with God? If you don’t but would like to, I encourage you right now to pray this sinner’s prayer found at Gotquestions.com:
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”
Congratulations! By praying this heartfelt sinner’s prayer, you have just invited Christ into your life! I encourage you to continue that journey by committing yourself to follow these 5 Instructions From Jesus and live a life centered on God. Blessings.