LESSONS IN MATURITY FROM THE BOOK OF JAMES
The older we get, the more mature we get – or at least that’s the plan! The reality is that maturity is not incidental; it is something to be actively pursued and acquired. In this letter originally written to Jewish believers, the apostle James invites us to that pursuit. From learning to handle trials in our lives to keeping our tongues in check, he gives us practical teaching that is as relevant to us today as it was to his first century audience.
PART 1: TURNING TRIAL TO TRIUMPH 1 V2-8 & V12
We all face trials and the one thing I’m sure we can agree on is that they are not enjoyable! And yet James calls us to “consider it pure joy” whenever we go through them. What possible reason could we have for such an unnatural response to hardship? That’s what we’ll explore in this message.
PART 2: OVERCOMING TEMPTATION 1V13-18
I can sympathise with the philosophy of monasteries when I consider the call to stay pure in a modern day city. From raunchy billboards with half-dressed women selling just about anything, to the allure of owning a German automobile or a Chanel handbag at any cost, cities are a minefield of temptation for the Christian. In this message James gives us insight that will give us an alternative to monk’s robes.
PART 3: DEALING WITH ANGER 1V19-25
The incredible Hulk used to warn people while still in his human form, “don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry!” I think we can all relate to that – well, certainly the people who take the brunt of our anger can. And yet, is anger always a bad thing? In this message we’ll explore this and other questions on the subject of anger.
PART 4: AVOIDING WORTHLESS RELIGION 1V26-27
To those of us who would consider ourselves religious (in the best possible sense), James has some disturbing news; there is a kind of religion that is completely worthless before God. It’s a bit like an expired coupon – it may look and feel real, but you can’t do anything with it. In this message, James gives us an acid test for true religion – take it if you dare!