Meditations on James 1:1-8

  • What do you do when a problem develops? 
  • What is patience to you?
  • Do you depend on yourself or others to solve your problems, or God? 
  • An abundant life in Christ means our problems are always smaller than His solution. Read and contrast Psalm 142:1-7 and Romans 8:28.
  • How can declaring your situation as “joy” be of benefit to you? Read Matthew 5:10-11
  • Remembering who we are in God’s eyes, serves as a great strength when facing any problem, Read 1 John 3:1-3.
  • Since the testing of our faith produces endurance, what does the testing of our doubts produce? Proof that Satan knows which areas of our faith is weak! 
  • If we do not grow in trusting God, we will lack whatever it takes to face the next problem that comes along. What did the searching, rich ruler lack? Luke 18:18-22.
  • Is it possible to be mature in one area of our faith, yet immature in another?
  • What is not right in our life that needs wisdom and attention from God?
  • Is there any other kind of wisdom worth asking for, than wisdom from God?
  • Do we ever doubt God would share His wisdom, or run out of it, or that it would be so old that it’s not applicable? Read Isaiah 40:28 &                     1st Corinthians 3:19
  • Receiving anything more from God than what the world already has, should be truly treasured, so why would He refrain from giving good things to unstable, double-minded people?
  • Why would the “wretched man” described in Romans 7:24, not be the same as the double-minded man in James 1:8 ?

“God will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, Jehovah, is the Rock eternal”. Isaiah 26:3-4 ~ For Jewish Christians would find great strength in Jesus being The Rock, (Matthew 7:25 & 16:18)

Hatred & Wrath, Mt. 5:43-48

God hates sin, but loves the sinner, you and me, everyone! This is a fact which most of us struggle to understand and emulate. We humans find it very hard to hate sin, but love each other. But if you want to understand how to do it and do it really well, begin with this fact. We love our self, but hate some things we say or do, so why can’t we learn to love people, more than what they do or say? God does this all the time, even when he really resented making us in the first place back in Noah’s day, Genesis 6:5-8. God who is love, actually destroyed people, but loved people enough to give them a 100 year opportunity to repent and get on an Ark. Those 8 souls that were saved on the Ark was the only proof the world had, which testified to the love of God for humans who were hateful toward Him. They were all so hateful that wrath filled their life and the world was full of violence because of them, so God was justified in destroying them to start all over again with those that loved Him. 

Recognize hatred for what it is: 

  • Characteristic of the lost state of humanity; Titus 3:3-5
  • Evidence of immaturity; Matthew 5:43-48, the word “perfect” means complete maturity.
  • Harbored by fools; Proverbs 10:18.
  • Grows into cruelty; led to the murder of Abel,1st Jn.3:11-15, and Christ, Jn.15:18-25 and led Joseph’s brothers to abuse him to the point of endangering his life, Genesis 37:4-8.  An oriental proverb says “Water does not remain on the mountain nor vengeance in a great mind”
  • A work or act of the flesh, carnal activity; Galatians 5:19-21
  • Preventing us from entering Heaven; Galatians 5:19-21

Love is the cure for hate. As far as the apostle John is concerned, there is no middle ground between love and hate, we either hate someone or we love them, read 1st John 2:9-11, 3:14-15. According to Peter, brotherly love is a command, 1st Peter 4:8 and according to Paul it is the fulfillment of the old law which embodies the greatest commandment, Romans 13:8.

To overcome hate from staying in our heart, we are given 3 divine truths that will repudiate hate from our hearts;

  • Pray for the person who is the object of hate, Matthew 5:44, If we believe God can help us in this request, hate will recede and eventually leave us.
  • Find something good to do for the person who is resented, Matthew 5:44. A compliment or note of encouragement, or a Christmas greeting card, or inviting them to a birthday party, or offering to carry someone to deliver a package somewhere, or any small deed that can make a dent in the critical attitude we may harbor to start destroying hate. This action is the first step we take towards emulating God in Jesus on the cross, Ephesians 2:16.
  • Brotherly love involves us in trying to sincerely understand the person who is hated or resented, 1st John 3:10-15. The phrase “Try walking a mile in his moccasins” is said to come from a poem written by Mary T. Lathrap, 1838-95, originally titled “Judge Softly”. It exposes the hatred bred from ignorance towards Native Americans, and is a principle that is proven to help rid hatred in prejudiced hearts.

Laziness & Discontentment – Psalm 23:1-4

Christians should fully realize that we have a Shepherd that makes us lay down, as well as walk. Recognizing the balance between the two, helps us fight off laziness in our lifestyle. “Laziness” is an overused criticism—a character judgment­­, really––that does little to help us understand why someone doesn’t exert the effort to do what they want to do, or are expected to do. If we take a moment to examine what’s behind the procrastination and avoidance, we find a range of more complicated issues but this discussion focuses on two facts: Firstly the discontentment we have in our heart which leads to laziness. Secondly the direction God’s word points us to, when it addresses people He labels as lazy or slothful.

The apostle Paul revealed a powerful truth concerning contentment in Philippians 4:11. While incarcerated in prison for unjust charges, he recorded that contentment is a virtue we must “learn”. If we live with being discontent and do not learn to be content, we will end up being too lazy to do anything about putting God’s knowledge into action. God wants his children to learn that the poorest people in the world are those who have more than they need, but feel like it’s never enough. If I can be satisfied with my income, then that satisfaction can motivate me to work in using the income wisely and keeping my income practically useful. If I’m not satisfied with my income, that dissatisfaction can possibly lead to laziness that can cost me my income one day. Remember, 1st Tim. 6:6-8 where we are taught godliness with contentment is great gain! Here is a poem to help us count our blessings, making godly contentment motivate us to work:


I wish I had a telescope to scan the starry skies;

But since I have no telescope, I’m glad I have two eyes.

I wish I had a kitchen run by digital commands.

But while that kitchen’s still a dream, 

I’m glad I have two hands.

I wish I had a brand new car to give my friends a treat;

But ‘til that new car comes along, I’m glad I have two feet.

Two eyes to look to God above

Two hands to lift in prayer

Two feet to take me anywhere

Well dang!  I’m a millionaire!”

God’s word warns us about the dangers of being “slothful or lazy”. The Hebrew writer says we should be content with what we have, Hebrews. 13:5, but that doesn’t mean we are so content we don’t work to use what we have to it’s fullest potential. Jesus considered laziness to be very closely akin to wickedness, see Matthew 25:26. Because when we are not busy working, we are usually neglecting service we could be giving to the Lord, Romans 12:11. Perhaps the worst thing about a lazy lifestyle is that we end up missing out on fulfilled promises in life, promises from God and promises that other people make for us if we meet their expectations, Hebrews 6:12. Work can be a great blessing, if we learn and believe in what Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 says, read it!

Cowardice – Allowing fore-thoughts to become fear-thoughts, Luke 12:4-10

When we were babies, every single one of us possessed two fears: The fear of falling and the fear of loud sudden noises. Did you overcome them? Or do you still have them? In one sense, no, in another sense, yes. None of us would jump off the south rim of the Grand Canyon without a safety net, nor would we enjoy someone pranking us with an unexpected scream unless you paid entrance into a halloween haunted house! This two-fold sense of caution & courage explains to all of us the difference between honorable fear, which is better described as caution, and dishonorable fear, which is better described as cowardice. If I had a phobia of spiders, it would be cowardly to run off and move to the north pole just because spiders can’t live there. But if my fear of spiders was honorable, I’d invest in pesticides, practicing caution to stand my ground. Christians should never run away from a spiritual enemy, but we should use caution and wipe the dust off our feet, moving forward. Standing fast is a command and it takes courage to wipe off our feet in the face of our enemy. Do not let your heart receive what your brain anticipates as fear. We can’t get rid of fear, but we can handle it wisely with the help of our Lord. Every human being is built with a sense of fear which can help us live a long productive life, if we treat our fears with God’s sovereignty in mind & soul.

Biblically there are only two types of fear: 

Commanded (Lk. 12:5 & Ac. 9:31) not to be confused with blind enthusiasm.

Forbidden (Lk. 12:32 & Mt. 8:26) not to be confused with caution.

Being brave for Jesus is not for brand new Christians. Courage for a Christian comes with time, maturity & wisdom. The church as a whole in today’s society is probably hurt more by immaturity than we are with complacency. Some preachers may complain about apathy in the church, but that complaint is empty, in view of the lack of spiritual exercise by new Christians. If that is the case for you, then the heart disease of cowardice can set in like a plague and stop you from growing into bravery.
Most people fear failure. In Matthew 25:25 we can see the “one talent man” did nothing because of his fear. Is it right for Christians to be fearful of failure? The Lord Jesus promised Christians inevitable and assured victory over sin and death. The apostle Paul proclaimed to beloved Christians in Corinth that we should be abounding in the work of the Lord, KNOWING our labor is not in vain. 1st Cor. 15:58. Jesus said, “Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.” (Jn. 6:27) Even when Jesus worked as a carpenter it was not in vain. Every effort you put into being a Christian is worth it, because a Christian is in Christ, giving us eternal food! That’s a victory in itself! If a brand new Christian can start being a Christian by being brave in our fight against temptation, then we will grow with Christ’s eternal food in the Word, to be brave in our work for the Lord to spread the gospel. Do you believe this?

Overcoming Discouragement, Hebrews 12:12-14

The Lord Jesus knows first hand how discouragement feels and how to overcome it. His frustration with both critics and disciples is an example for us to learn and draw strength from, see Matthew 17:17, Mark 9:19, Luke 9:41 & John 14:9, he also met exhaustion and needed strengthened, Matthew 4:11. The following discussion is not about biological, hormonal imbalances or human chemistry causing depression, but we are here considering what every human faces; frustrating discouragement from circumstances out of our control. Even Jesus, who was in control, found himself hurt, betrayed, lonely, sorrowful and at times exasperated with discouraging reactions from people he tried so hard to serve, yet He never gave up in trying to love them. When we are met with negativity, criticism or outright opposition, we can suffer discouragement. That feeling is often intense and can cause our hearts to despair. Therein is a spiritual disease akin to the sin of idolatry. We can easily start loving self-comfort instead of God’s comfort. 


A. Go do something for someone else: Matthew 10:39. If you dig someone else out of their troubles, you’ll have a hole to bury your own in.

B. Remember and memorize the things in life that are as bright as the promises of God. Trust God and take time to rejoice in his promises, 2nd Peter 3:9, Philippians 4:8.

C. Look for ways in which your burdens actually might  become bridges, Philippians 1:12 & 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18. My wife’s three miscarriages actually became the way by which she comforted, counselled and encouraged many other women who were lost in grief.

D. Remember Jesus said to “separate yourselves and rest awhile”, Mark 6:31. The devil desires to use people that are tired and defiles them, but Jesus gives rest to people who are tired and inspires them.

E. Don’t be wary of talking to yourself, Matthew 9:20-22, and then talk to God in prayer. We must always take the causes of our discouragement to the Lord, Philippians 4:6-7.

F. Accept the fact that God knows you are valuable and needed in His Kingdom work, while going through discouragement, we must refuse to wallow in self-pity. In God’s eyes a Christian is too valuable for self-pity, Matthew 10:31, 1st Corinthians 12:13-27.

G. Never forget that a Christian is never alone, 1st Peter 3:12-14, Hebrews 13:5-6, Matthew 28:18-20 & 2nd Timothy 4:17, His loving presence is with us.

H. God has promised that no temptation has overtaken a Christian that is not common to humanity, He is faithful and he will not let us be tempted beyond our ability, but with the temptation God will also provide a way of escape that we may be able to endure, 1st Corinthians 10:13. Therefore we have many reasons to rejoice in God’s comfort and refuse to “self-comfort” when we are burdened with discouragement or frustration.