Understanding the Message and Purpose of James
The book of James is a wonderful companion piece to the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the four Gospels. James has a strong ethical emphasis that is consistent with the moral teachings Jesus gave to His disciples. James also mirrors the sometimes harsh denunciations that Jesus spoke against religious hypocrisy. Like Jesus’ teachings, the book of James is a source of both exhortation and comfort, both reproof and encouragement. Finally, James is known for being extremely practical, yet it contains some of the most profound theological truths of the New Testament (from the King James Version Holman Study Bible – Introduction to the Letter of James)
How does the Book of James fit in within the recovery lifestyle? What purpose does it serve to help those on their path and journey toward living a healthy and sober lifestyle?
Approaching any scripture means we are wanting to understand the important message that may stay with us over time. Messages that will challenge our present worldview and perceptions. This is especially true when it comes to understanding the nature and character of God and how we find our divine heritage and identity through Him. Overall objective is to comprehend what we are reading. Properly interpret our own understanding of the passage. And, appropriately apply it into our daily lives. These three are based on the fundamental questions:
- What does it say? (comprehension)
- What does it mean? (Interpretation)
- How does this call me to change? (Application)
How we approach these questions may determine the type of response given. Remember, we want to be mindful, observant, and intentional in how we read through the Letter of James. If we are not approaching the text with this type of attitude, we may very well miss out on some eternal treasure and understanding.
Message and Purpose of the Letter of James
What we will explore in these articles (and study) is how relevant James is to each one of us. James is a short book in the Bible (only 5 chapters) that is packed with wealth of information. Each week, we will break down how the passages fit within the context of recovery and practical applications to live out a genuine faith.
- Week 1: Genuine Faith and Trials – Engaging in recovery requires genuine faith amidst the trials and adversity one experiences.
- Week 2: Genuine Faith and Temptation – Early stage of recovery (abstinence), intermediate stage of recovery, and sobriety all have their respective forms of temptation. Being aware of these helps one mitigate risk factors for relapsing
- Week 3: Genuine Faith and Obedience – What it means to surrender and follow recommended guidelines. How to develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit and walk according to the will of God
- Week 4: Genuine Faith and Favortism – Focuses on how we develop relationship and reach out to those who are also suffering
- Week 5: Genuine Faith and Actions – How we go about living out a healthy recovery matters
- Week 6: Genuine Faith and Words – Words matter and what we say may influence how we live our lives and inspire others
- Week 7: Genuine Faith and Wisdom – In the Serenity Prayer, we ask for wisdom regarding those things we are not able to change and how we are empowered to make change happen
- Week 8: Genuine Faith and Submission – Focusing more on what it means to live according to God’s divine will and providence in our recovery
- Week 9: Genuine Faith and Prayerful Patience – No doubt does an individual learn patience with God, self, and others.
- Week 10: Genuine Faith and Personal Revelation – What discoveries have you made about God? How will this impact your own personal journey and recovery?
The premise is to engage each person to follow through with their own personal study of the Book of James. Share their own thoughts in the comment section. Engage in discussing with others how this helps you move forward through the recovery process.
Keep a Journal of Your thoughts and Responses
These weekly study content provide questions for you to respond to. Keeping a journal to record your thoughts and responses to these will be helpful and enriching. A recommendation I make is utilizing the S.O.A.P method (which each article will be structured).
Each week, the scripture passage will be defined. Only request is for you to read through the passage for that week. No once or twice. Read the passages numerous times.
Write down any thoughts related to what you have read. Attempt to paraphrase the passages. Insert your own personal name (first name only). Focus on what the message is being relayed. What stands out to you the most in the passage. How do your own personal thoughts, values, and beliefs relate to the passage? Does it anger you, confuse you, or inspire you? What are some other passages that you may be familiar with that relate to those verses.
What do you believe is being revealed to you? How is God speaking with you through the text? What impact does this have on my life? How is this going to motivate me to change? Remember, this is a structured and focused study to define how to live out a healthy and courageous faith-inspired recovery program.
Pray and Meditate
Seeking our Heavenly Father in prayer helps us identify ways we are able to receive ongoing and personal revelation. Strength and encouragement to make those changes happen in our lives. This requires some thoughtfulness and quieting of our mind. We want to meditate on the words. Pray to understand and how to move forward.
Understanding the message and purpose of James helps prepare us to explore the teachings. Implement practical applications into our own recovery program and journey. Draw us closer to Christ and our Heavenly Father. It also encourages us to enrich and deepen our faith. Through this study, it is my hope that you are able to find healing, hope, and empowerment.
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