On Wed. nights our Pastor is doing a verse by verse study on the book of James in the New Testament. The advantage of studying a book this way is you can study it in context, learn about the time it was written, the customs then, and sometimes if the book (or letter as in Pauls writings) was written for a specific people group. You don't get that teaching/context if the Pastor/teacher pulls one verse out of context to fit his own topic. That kind of teaching is how a lot of folks are led astray or led to mans ideas instead of Gods truth.
The introduction to the book of James in my Bible says "James (a brother of Jesus) writes this letter to urge Christians to express their faith in daily living.
So, do people know we are Christians by our actions, words, activities, involvement in the world. Or do they see us going to church on Sunday & maybe Wednesday night and living like the rest of the world othertimes. Do they see us living out our faith on Facebook or other social media? Do they see us contradicting our faith by what we say or do?
My dear brothers, take note of this "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefor, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it ~ he will be blessed in what he does.
We are not only to be Hearers of the Word, but Doers of the Word. We don't have to DO to become a Christian but we DO because we are Christian. Christ did everything there was to DO in our salvation. Doing is living out our Faith ~ do we see the poor & do nothing, do we hear of a need & forget it, do we never take action, do we guard all our time and keep all our money ~ even though we know what we are supposed to do? That would mean we were Hearers only and never Doers.
One of my favorite sections in James is chapter 3 verses 17 & 18.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
The Lord gives His children pure wisdom, love of peace, considerate attitudes, submissive spirits, mercy, our lives produce good fruit, we are impartial, and sincere.
Does this describe us and our lives? Do these traits come out in our daily living & our dealings with others? Or do we come up with excuses such as: "This doesn't apply to me," or "This was only written to those people," or "God doesn't mean that," or "The real meaning got lost in the translation".
Do we do what the scriptures tell us as His Children & followers to do?
Lots of wisdom to think about and evaluate in our own lives and households.