Be patient, humble, and stand firm on the truth. How? By reading the Bible, of course!
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James 4 (ESV)
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?
Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
2 You desire
and do not have,
so you murder.
and cannot obtain,
so you fight and quarrel.
You do not have,
because you do not ask.
3 You ask
and do not receive,
you ask wrongly,
to spend it on your passions.
4 You adulterous people!
Do you not know
that friendship with the world
is enmity with God?
wishes to be a friend of the world
makes himself an enemy of God.
5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says,
“He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
6 But he gives more grace.
Therefore it says, “God
opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
near to God,
and he will draw near to you.
your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
your laughter be turned to mourning
and your joy to gloom.
10 Humble yourselves
before the Lord,
and he will exalt you.
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.
speaks against a brother
or judges his brother,
evil against the law
and judges the law.
But if you judge the law,
you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
12 There is only one lawgiver and judge,
he who is able to save and to destroy.
But who are you to judge your neighbor?
13 Come now, you who say,
“Today or tomorrow
we will go into such and such a town
spend a year there
and trade and make a profit”—
14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.
What is your life?
For you are a mist
that appears for a little time
and then vanishes.
15 Instead you ought to say,
“If the Lord wills,
we will live and do this or that.”
16 As it is,
you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
17 So whoever
knows the right thing to do
and fails to do it,
for him it is sin.
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James 5 Summary
Just like all of the chapters that have come before it, this final chapter is comprised of multiple short proverbs that give practical application to Christian theology.
Although I count seven different passages (you can see how I divided it in the outlined version dropdown), it does seem there's a common theme tying them all together:
Those who've hoarded now by mistreating others will get what they deserve;
Patiently wait for the Lord's return;
Read the Old Testament for examples of godly patience;
Stand firmly on the truth;
Pray for relief from suffering, sickness and sin (read this if you're curious about how to interpret v15);
Seek and restore those who've wandered off.
As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord (v10).
We read the Old Testament with two goals in mind. First, and most importantly, whether it's a story which showcases God's almighty power or one which demonstrates the constant unfaithfulness of His people, we always first look for how the passage is predicting and pointing the reader to find salvation in the coming Savior.
But this primary goal certainly doesn't set aside the lessons we can learn from all of the fascinating characters we read about. In fact, James commands us to read them with this in mind! Whether it's the steadfastness of Job that James mentions, or the moral failings of the Israelite kings, we gain tremendous insight on how God wants us to live.
Tomorrow we're going to begin reading some chapters from Exodus. Remember, the primary purpose of these chapter is to show how God brings His obstinate people to the Promised Land (salvation in Christ), but we're also going to learn some awesome life lessons along the way!
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The Lord is full of compassion and mercy (v11)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will give you the faith and patience to stand firm (v8)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: