JAMES Challenge

This week you have been challenged to read James all the way through! 1 chapter per day with a day for reflection on what you’ve read on Saturday.

And please post your thoughts here and take notes in your notebooks!

I am excited to see what you experience this week!

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15 thoughts on “JAMES Challenge

  1. James 2:14 “My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people claim they have faith but don’t act like it? Can that kind of faith save them?”. James 2:17 “It is the same with faith. If it doesn’t cause us to do something, it’s dead”. It is amazing how in only a few sentences such a strong message appears. Having faith without doing works means nothing. You can say you believe in God, but when it comes down to it, that’s not the kind of faith that will save a person. You can’t just SAY you believe, you have to SHOW what you believe by how you carry yourself. It’s the same as going to Church and saying you believe, and then going to school/work and acting non-Christian and lacking morals. Faith is meaningless if we don’t act upon it. You wouldn’t be fulfilling your job as a Christian, as it says many times in the Bible to not only have faith, but to show you have faith. On the other side, good works without faith is also meaningless. It has no true purpose. James 2:26 “The body without the spirit is dead. In the same way, faith without good works is dead” . . .

    • This is a pretty tough section and I think you have analyzed it quite well. I have a question for you, Ashley. Read Romans 10:9-10 and Ephesians 2:8-9. How can we reconcile your interpretation of James 2 and those two passages? I am not questioning your interpretation of James but just asking a common question regarding that interpretation… Ok, once you have done that… remember how important full context is? Reading what is around a passage also and not just the verse itself? Now finish by reading Ephesians 2:10 (the next verse after the second passage above) and let me know what you think.

      Also – see if you can get some of your fellow students involved in the conversation here. I think we could both benefit from it. Maybe you can motivate them to get involved!

      • Thank you Andy for those verses. A person is saved from their faith in Christ. You do not have to do good works to be saved. However as Christians, we should want to do good works in the name of God(but without boasting about it as it says in Matthew). It is part of the Holy Spirit that’s inside of us that makes us want to do good things and live out his word. You do not have to do good works to attain salvation. It says in Ephesians 2:10 “God made us. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good things. Long ago God prepared them for us to do”. Good works are not a required law set forth to go to heaven, but God does present opportunities in our lives to do good works, as it is apart of his plan. By not taking these opportunities, in a way it is hindering God’s plan for yourself and for others. Not to mention someone else’s salvation that you might have had an impact on. So, what comes first is faith, and through our faith we can do good works.

  2. I LOVE James 2. It is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It challenges us to think past prayer, past devotions, and past church and reach out into the world. As Christ followers, we are to reach out into the world and help it as much as we can. Not in a prideful showy way, but in a way that can show God where our heart is.
    The last verse says “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”… is this true?
    can we really not truly follow Christ without deeds???

    • For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. …
      yeah that is scary, so does that mean that if we lie, or cheat, or become angry, and we are sinful, does that mean we are guilty of breaking it?

      • I would say so… to God, sin is sin is sin… even though we may consider one sin “worse” than another, any sin separates us from God, regardless of how we would evaluate its magnitude or seriousness…

        “We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23) And there are no qualifications on that!

        It just shows we all need God equally. We may make divisions and qualifications, but God does not.

  3. I made a conccenction between James 2 and what we talked about in Chrisian club. During club we talked about the imporance of showing your faith in your actions instead of just claiming to be a Christian and the same thing popped up in James 2 so I think that’s pretty cool.
    So like Ashley said above, we have to show our faith through our actions because both have to be done at once. James 2:17 “So also faith by itself, if it doesn’t have works, is dead.” and James 2:24 “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” The chapter gave the example of Abraham’s and devoted faith and how he was rewarded for showing his faith through his work. God rewards him for his faith and he’s even later called a friend of God. I just think that’s so cool that he’s called a friend of the Lord because he showed his faith through his work.
    One verse that really stuck out to me though was James 2:19 “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder!” That just shows how powerful and mighty He is that not only do we fear and respect him but the demons shudder at his might. The most evil things to live on this earth fear our lord to that extent and I think that’s truly amazing.

    • Good thoughts Allie. The demons believing and shuddering is a pretty powerful statement. Interesting that the author of James is so adamant that believing in God not the only thing that is necessary because if that were the case, even the demons would be saved! Yikes! Therefore, something else must accompany it. Kinda scary to think that if we say we believe but do not act like it or live like it, we are being compared to demons here! Whoa!

      And I think the real challenge comes with the action. Anyone can SAY they believe and trust in God. And I am not minimizing that at all! That is a big deal! But the true Christians are those that claim it openly (which, is tough sometimes), and back it up by what they do.

      Pretty cool, too, that Jesus, himself, models this lifestyle so well. Never has someone led by example so beautifully!

      Thanks for the thoughts, Allie! Glad to see you getting involved!

  4. What really stuck out to me was verse 9, that us humans were all created by God and yet we still put down others who God loves the same? Shouldn’t we be praising our Father everyday by not saying/doing harmful things to people who God wants us to love? God gave us freedom of speech, and we should never take advantage of Him and be selfish with it. We should be loving to the people we don’t like, and especially to the people who need love the most!

    • Good comments Lizzie. I always like to make the comparison of this. Think of the person you love the most. Now, how would you react if that person was being hurt or disrespected, even if they were maybe not the best person either? Imagine how God feels when we say we love Him but then bring down those whom He loves…

  5. James 3 brings to mind the old saying that sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me. Clearly that statement is more than false… But it is interesting to me how adamant the author is about his point.

    It also makes me think because verse 1 of chapter 3 talks about not many people should choose to be teachers of Biblical principles because teachers are judges more harshly… THen it goes into the power of the tongue right after that. Interesting… perhaps it is stressing being wise about what you teach to others regarding faith and Scripture.

    And by the way, while that passage catches my attention because I teach students regularly, I am also reminded about the fact that, actually, many of you are teachers also. Not only have many students taught on Sunday mornings, but I think these principles can be applied anytime we are discussing spiritual things… answering friends’ questions, talking with parents, etc… But I do not think this is something to be feared as much as it is a reminder – albeit a very strong one – that we need to take our responsibility to bring the Word of God to people very seriously.

  6. James 4:5 “Don’t you know what Scripture says? The spirit that God caused to live in us wants us to belong only to God”. It talks before this about how we cannot be friends of the world. If we chose to be friends of the world, then we would belong to the world(as you are associated with it like you would be with a friend, you’re now apart of each others lives)so, you would essentially belong to evil. But the spirit inside of us wants us only to belong to God. James 4:7 “So obey God. Stand up to the devil. He will run away from you”.

    • I love the image of the devil running away from me! I was on a train one night during my trip to Europe. Our leader was a small guy but confronted a couple of guys that were being obnoxious right outside our door in the middle of the night. They reacted poorly and turned toward our leader. But at that point, my friend and I, both big guys, came and stood in the doorway behind our leader. Suddenly the other two guys were more apologetic. Our leader did not even know why at first and felt cool… like he scared away the guys.

      I feel like our leader when I picture the image stated in verse 7. I try to stand up to the Devil and he turns on me as if to say, “Really?” But then God stands up behind me in the doorway and suddenly the devil is a bit more nervous. I like it. “If our God is for us, then who can stand against us?” (Romans 8:31)

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