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How to Apply the Book of James Into Your Daily Life

by | Apr 22, 2021

Part 1:  Who is James, anyway? 

James 1:1-8, 1:12-18 

“This letter is from James,  a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” James 1:1

James refers to himself as a servant of God and Jesus.  Would you believe it if I told you he was Jesus’ half-brother!?  Yes!  He grew up in the same house as Jesus; his mom and dad were Mary and Joseph.  Would you believe it if your brother or sister claimed to be the son of God?  No?  Well, James didn’t either.  Not until Jesus was crucified and then resurrected, did James believe that his brother was the son of God.  Wow.  Rest in that for a moment.  Keep that fact in your mind as we work through this together!

Troubles

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2

We’re all going to have problems in life.  We need to accept that.  We will have great joys and great sorrows on this earth.  In my opinion, James wanted us to focus on how we handle those problems that come our way instead of if or when we do.  James goes on to point out that when we have these trials, that is when we have the chance to grow (1:3). 

What is your general first reaction to trouble?  What do you usually do?  How do you usually feel?

Dive Deeper Into Scripture: 

Check out these verses about times of trouble and what to do when troubles appear.

Romans 12:12,  2 Corinthians 1:4,  2 Corinthians 4:8 & 17-18,  Proverbs 13:20 & 21-23

Which verse stuck out to you and how can you apply it to your life today? 

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, Let us turn to you in times of trouble.  Lord, we know they will come.  Let us prepare for them and use them to grow us.  With you, we can withstand any test that comes our way.  Help us to take comfort in that assurance.  In Your name, Amen. 

Now it’s your turn.  Write your own personal prayer to God.

 

Part 2:  Patience

James 5:7-11 

“You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.”  James 5:8

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with patience.  When I want it, I want it now (ahem, Amazon Prime).  When I want someone to do something, I want them to do it right then.  And when I want something to happen in my life or I pray and ask God for something, I get irritated when it doesn’t happen right away.  Can you relate?  

All throughout the Bible, in the Old and the New Testament, patience is discussed.  I can only assume God finds it very important and helpful to practice the art of patience.  Not just patience, but patience without complaining (whining, fussing, being dramatic, and the like) when we are trying to be patient and instead being hopeful in the waiting.  

In what areas of your life are you patient and impatient?  Why?

Do you complain, fuss, get grouchy or frustrated, take it out on others, or whine when you are in the waiting?  Do you think this is what God wants of us during these periods?  Why or why not?

Do you ever feel helpless or lack a sense of hope or purpose during these trials?  Do you know what scripture says about hope and purpose?

Dive Deeper Into Scripture:

Let’s explore the Bible for verses on patience, hope, and complaining to get some perspective, wisdom, and encouragement.

Exodus 15:24, Exodus 16:2, Job 7:11,  Proverbs 16:32,  Romans 2:4,  Ephesians 4:2

What did you find?  Is there a verse that stuck out to you?  Is there a verse you can recite the next time you are feeling impatient?  Write out your favorite passage and post it somewhere or memorize it.

Prayer:

Dear Father, Thank you for the wisdom found in these scriptures.  Help us to grow our patience to be more like your son, Jesus.  Let the people of the Bible inspire us to be more patient.  In Your Holy name we pray, Amen. 

Now it’s your turn.  Write your own personal prayer to God.

 

Part 3:  The Power of Words

James 1:26-27, 3:1-12, & 5:12-18

“Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.”  James 3:2

When you feel that someone has wronged you, do you want to yell?  React right away based on how you feel?  Do you feel that it’s your right to let them know how you feel?  Do you rarely pause before responding?  If you feel a feeling, do you feel that someone should hear about it?

James has a lot to say about the power of our words and the weight that they carry.  He carefully illustrates the danger in the words we choose to say.

You’re fooling yourself if you don’t control your tongue. 1:27

And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. 3:6

but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 3:8

But luckily, James doesn’t leave us hanging with his warning.  He also helps us with what we should say.  He instructs us to confess our sins, pray to God, praise Him with our words, and pray for each other. 

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 5:13

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. 5:16

Give thanks to God for teaching you wisdom in the pause.  To breathe, pray, and reflect before responding.  Thank Him for giving ample opportunities to learn that there are relational and personal consequences with the words you choose to say and how to say them.  

Has your mouth ever gotten you into trouble?  Have you ever lashed out, yelled, manipulated, bragged, gossiped, or criticized someone?  Do you realize the power of your words?

Do you pray and confess your wrongs out loud?  Do you outwardly praise God for all your blessings?  Do you feel that there’s more power in saying words out loud rather than keeping them in your head?

Dive Deeper Into Scripture:

Use your Bible to look up these helpful verses on carefully choosing our words and the reasons for doing so.  Trust the warnings that are mentioned and learn how dangerous our mouths can be.  Practice guarding your mouth every day for the words you choose to say.

1 Kings 17-18 & 22 (about Elijah),  Proverbs 10:11 & 12:19, Ephesians 4:29

Prayer:

Dear God, Thank you for our many blessings- big and small.  Thank you for so clearly communicating to us the dangers and importance of our words.  Thank you for giving us the ability to communicate and help us use it for good, not harm.  In Your name, Amen.

Now it’s your turn.  Write your own personal prayer.

 

Part 4:  Relationships

James 1:9-11, 2:1-13, 3:13-18, 4:1-12, 5:1-6

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” James 4:1

Can’t we all just get along?  How many times have you thought this to yourself?  Whether at home, at work, on the road, or at Target, you will witness and experience conflict.  It just seems to be a part of life, right?  This wasn’t God’s intention in the beginning.  And he offers us a solution.  We can start by asking ourselves, “where in me is this coming from?”  That’s right.  James instructs us to look at ourselves, rather than point the finger outward.  Let’s try that together.

What are your current relationships like?  Close or distant? Surface-level or deep?  Long-lasting or fleeting?  Smooth or bumpy?

When you have a conflict with someone, what does that typically look like?  Is there yelling?  Blaming?  Criticizing?  Judgment?  Problem-solving?  Compromise?  Openness?  Forgiveness and grace?

James talks about our inner feelings and relational motivations.  Are you a jealous person?  Do you struggle with greed, pride, selfishness, or stubbornness?  

James also talks about loving everyone and not favoring one person over another (2:9).  What does that look like to you and how can you practice this in your life?

Dive Deeper Into Scripture:

Use your bible to look up these verses on developing and maintaining healthy relationships, with other people, yourself, and with God.  Memorize and practice these verses and keep a journal of how your relationships transform.

Luke 12:21, Proverbs 13:10,  John 15:13, Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:14

Prayer:

Dear God, Thank you for the gift of connection and relationship. Help me to foster healthy, meaningful relationships with the people in my life.  Please help me to be a person who is quick to forgive, have compassion, and show mercy.  Help me to resist the urge to be judgmental, unkind, envious, or selfish.  I trust You and your ability to help me and I give my relationships to You.  In Your name, Amen.

Now it’s your turn.  Write your own personal prayer to God.

 

Part 5:  Taking Action

James 1:19-25, 2:14-26, 4:13-17, 5:19-20

“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” James 2:14

Can you analyze and talk something to death?  Do you know something backward and forwards, but when it comes to taking action, well, that’s a little harder for you?  What good is knowing something if you don’t take action and put it to good use?  It’s not enough to know or believe something, you have to live it.

I encourage you to follow James’ instructions and take action.  Know what motivates you, spend time with God asking Him to lead you and to help you surrender control, and open your eyes to how you can serve.

Read James 2:16 again.  Is this convicting for you?  How can you apply this to your life today?  What is the difference in intentions and doing something?  What do you think James was getting at? Do you see his correlation between faith and good deeds?

Do you make your own plans or do you pray about them and ask God to lead you in how and when you take action?  When you have success in life, do you take credit for your actions or do you give the glory to God for the talents and abilities to be able to have done what you succeeded at?  Have you ever known what God wanted you to do, but then didn’t do it? We know what to do, ask God for the courage to do it.

We are called to take action and bring people back from wandering.  The Message version of James 5:19-20 literally says to “go after them and get them back.”  If that’s not action, I don’t know what is!  What are some examples of wandering and what are some actions we can take to help those we find wandering?

Dive Deeper Into Scripture:

Let’s explore how and why we should take action in our lives.

1 John 3:18,  2 Peter 1:5-8,  Philippians 4:13,  Luke 11:9, Matthew 7:24

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, Encourage us to take action for the good of serving Your will.  Open our eyes to see what we need to do for You today and every day.  Open our hearts to serve, give, and be ready to help those who wander from Your light.  We surrender control to You and we let You lead, God.  Help us to not be content with just believing.  Give us the conviction to live out our faith.  In Your name we pray, Amen.

Now it’s your turn.  Write your own personal prayer to God.

 

Favorite Verses in James

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

James 1:2-5

 

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.

James 3:17 

 

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

James 5: 16 

About Kristi | View Profile
Kristi Schwegman is a psychotherapist specializing in helping couples develop healthy relationships, whether dating, engaged, or married. She also draws from her Christian-based approach to lead individuals in becoming aware of the limiting beliefs that can get them stuck.
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