In the book of James, Jesus’ brother challenges us to live a life wholly devoted to God. Relying heavily on Jesus’ own teaching, especially drawing from the Sermon on the Mount, James asserts that true faith is more than an intellectual pursuit of ideas; real faith results in action. James faced intense persecution, famine, and poverty as he remained in Jerusalem to build the church after Jesus was crucified. But by following Jesus’ instruction he became known as a courageous leader and wise peacemaker. Like a bucket of ice water in your face, James will wake you up with a fresh challenge for how you live.
James’ writing is different than Paul’s, who wrote many of the other books in the New Testament. Rather than taking on a specific problem the church was facing, James writes a stream of wise teachings. Pay close attention as you read the one liners James uses to prick your heart and mind. More than just summarizing major themes of Jesus’ teaching, the Holy Spirit may be calling you to take next steps to activate your faith, helping you encounter and better follow Jesus to bless a broken world.