James 1:1-8, NIV

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

It is critical for us to understand, before we read begin a study—of any kind—in the Scriptures. Why do we have the Scriptures? What is the purpose of having the Bible? Why do we need to even read it? So, as believers, why do we need the Bible?

Because God has standards for His kids!

2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We must realize this purpose otherwise we will read James (or any other passage for that matter) and we will simply “write off” the challenges as “no longer applicable” or make up some other excuse for not doing exactly as the Word of God commands us.

We do not obey God’s word simply because He commanded us (although that would be reason enough), but we obey Him because we love Him (there’s that worship thing again!). (John 14:15 {Jesus speaking}: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”)

James 1:1: Notice the humility. James did not throw out his list of credentials. If this was the James we believe it to be, he was the half-brother of Jesus. If he was James, the Elder he could have said that yet he didn’t. He identified himself as all of us should identity himself. You ever had some introduce themselves by their title (I’m “Doctor Baker” or “Reverend Smith”). Let’s just be honest, it comes across as a little “stuffy” except in certain circumstances.

James 1:2-4: Notice the perspective.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

What is our first response when bad things happen? (WHY?!?!) Yet James is reminding us what we learn as we mature in the faith: “testing produces perseverance”. Why is perseverance so important? So that we are mature and complete. Let me bridge this gap: Without the valley, we will not be complete.

James 1:5-8: Notice the advice.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Did you catch the little part in verse 5, God doesn’t find fault with us asking for wisdom. It is not a sin to be human. We are without the knowledge of God. He has the knowledge; we do not. It is no sin, or admission of sin, to ask for wisdom.

But there’s a condition to this gift of wisdom: belief without doubt. Doubt is the opposite of belief. It is the night to the Lord’s day.

James tells us even today: trust and don’t doubt. Believe! Look at God’s track record. He will prove Himself faithful (just as He always has).