Aah, you’ve come Beyond the Strait Gate to visit with me once again. Pull up a chair and let’s visit a while. Today, I’d like to share with you some of what the Lord has given me as I’ve been studying the Epistle of James. My Ryrie study Bible tells me in the introduction that this epistle is addressed to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (1:1) “a designation for believers everywhere.”
If you have come “through” the Strait Gate (John 14:6), this means this is for you…and if you should be visiting out of curiosity, made a wrong turn and are here by Divine Providence, have a seat, sit back and see what God’s Word has to say. Perhaps He wanted you to meet with Him today. Perhaps when our visit is over, you will leave with God’s Word planted in your heart.
James 1:1 – “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.”
We begin this epistle with the author introducing himself to us and also acknowledging his “place” before God and his relationship to other Jewish brethren: he is a servant. He is a servant to not just those in his immediate location, but James sees himself as a servant to the brethren…wherever they may be “scattered”.
James’ heart attitude? Humility. A heart of humility among other believers; a “servant’s” heart. In serving others, He serves the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why, perhaps you might ask, is James’ letter being sent “abroad to the twelve tribes”? His servant’s heart is purposed to build up the church of God by instructing them about the Christian life: what to expect; what to do…from God’s perspective…certainly not his own perspective.
Let’s stop for a moment and consider ourselves and our attitude toward our brethren and those with whom we come in contact with through the day, through the week, through life! Is our heart’s desire for them to understand WHO God is and WHAT it is He wants from us? HOW we could please Him? HOW we might be pleasing to Him and share this with others that they, too, might come to know Him in this very personal way? James understood His place before God; he feared Him, in the awesome sense, and loved Him in the way the Lord ought to be loved.
What about us? How do we love Him? Do we revere Him with the kind of humility becoming a “servant of God”?
The next time we meet, we will get into the meat of James’ message concerning “trials” in our Christian life and our response to them. A trial is a good thing, James says. A GOOD THING?! Come and visit again, and we’ll see how trials are a good thing and even something for which we can be thankful, that we might know how to live BEYOND the Strait Gate.