Watch TBP “ James”, and read the book of James. Then write a 500+ word essay responding to the following questions:
What constitutes “truly wise” living, according to James?
Which of the 12 teachings mentioned in the video resonated most with you, and why?
How have you seen the wisdom of this book followed or ignored, by Christians or anyone else, and what results followed?
Do you agree or disagree with the premise of James? Why?
The Book of James
In the book of James, truly wise living is when one’s faith in God results in selfless good works. Wise persons live in humility of wisdom. “Truly wise living is an act of living a wholly integrated life where one’s deeds are always consistent with the values and beliefs that one received from Christ” (James 3:13 New International Version (NIV)). The teachings of James that real faith leads to practical deeds resonated most with me as it teaches Christians not to be all talks but no action. Further, it shows that Christians should be different from non-believers since if they do not practice their faith, it will be hard to differentiate them from non-believers. “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). According to James, one cannot claim to have Faith in God yet they neglect their neighbors. James indicates that genuine faith always results in obedience to Jesus’ teachings. He emphasizes on an action oriented view to the teachings that we can trust in God for providence and that in return we must strive to work for the good of those in need.
The wisdom of this book has been greatly neglected by Christians and non-believers. Most Christians live as broken people with big inconsistencies in their characters. Christians are more compromised than they are willing to admit. Moreover, just as James teaches, most Christians claim to love God and have faith but they turn a blind eye to those in need. Christians use the same mouth they use to speak about Christ to unleash pain upon people and then go to offer praise to God. Moreover, they judge people and then talk badly about them behind their backs. Christians also distort the truth to their own advantage. Our words tell the truth about our character. Just as James teaches, some people are arrogant of their belongings and wealth as they believe it will be around forever. James warns that this is not the case as these things will one day rot just like people will. Most people who have ignored the teachings of James have ended up being miserable.
I agree with the premise of James since, as he teaches, God’s people should live in patience and hope for the return of the Messiah to set things right. Therefore, we should take life’s hardships as paradoxical gifts that are actually meant to shape our characters. God can do amazing works in us in the midst of suffering and help us become perfect and complete. Whenever we face trials of any kinds we should consider it as nothing but joy, because the testing of our faith brings forth endurance. Moreover, we should let endurance have its full effect, so that we may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. Consequently, Christians should put in mind that any kind of tribulations may be impetuous for growth, including troubles at workplaces. The book of James is particularly interested on challenges that are so severe and result in testing a Christian’s faith.