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A Clinical Look at the Book of James
by Felix Amiri
1/02/2007 / Bible Studies
Why do we need to have a clinical look at the book of James? The answer is simple. God knows that we need on-going healing in many areas and inspired the writing of this and similar books of the Bible.
James deals with areas of unbelief and misconduct in the church as he encourages the church the twelve tribes dispersed abroad as he calls them. This encouragement is certainly timely for the present day church as well.
I do not know of any person who has got it all together and no longer needs spiritual healing. Eugene Peterson, in The Message included the following statement in his introduction to the book of James. Among other things, he said: Just as a hospital collects the sick under one roof and labels them as such, the church collects sinners. Even people who do not go to church cite this fact as the reason why they do not care to go to church. Only a pack of sick people go there, they say. They are right because spiritual sickness is an inescapable plight of humanity. We are all sick.
This is very much like what I heard a well known retired Canadian politician say. I will not use any names because, while I believe this to be what he said, I might have heard wrong. Nevertheless it is fitting to stress this fact. During a television broadcast, this politician emphatically voiced his support for the Canadian MEDICARE program and in his fervor he blurted: We are Canadians and we are sick. This is why we need the MEDICARE program.
We may find such a statement to be funny from the perspective in which it was made. However, it is not funny from the spiritual perspective. It is sadly true and extends far beyond the Canadian borders. We are all sick worldwide. It is even worse, for those who refuse to go to church because only a pack of sick people go there. It is like a person who is terminally ill saying: I do not want to go to the hospital or any medical clinic because only a pack of sick people go there.
James, moved by the Spirit of God recognized that Christ is indeed the great physician and the church is the healing place for the spiritually sick. Hence he provided us with some healing potions: He gave us a list of dos and donts to help us fight our spiritual ailments. These are the marks and privileges of those who belong to Christ. Here are some of them with the applicable study sections from the book of James provided:
Have faith in Christ even in the midst of trials. God does not try us to trip us up; rather it is to lead us to maturity in our faith (1: 1 18)
Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger and act on what you hear (1: 19 27).
The royal rule of love = treat all people equally (2: 1 13).
Show your faith by your works because faith without works is as empty as works without faith (2: 14 26).
Control your tongue (3: 1 12).
Avoid ambivalence. Let your character be godly. Live and behave in line with your confessed faith (3: 13 18).
Pray with the right attitude. Stir clear of any alluring carnality, selfishness, arrogance, discontentment and lack of trust in God (4: 1 10).
Do not judge other people (4: 11 12).
Do not boast about what you have done or are going to do at any time, submit to Gods will in all your plans and give Him the glory when they work out since He is both the prime mover and guide (4: 13 15).
Greed that leads to seeking after wealth & luxury through the oppression of other people destroys from within the person (5: 1 6).
Persevere in the Lord until His return (5: 7 11).
Deal honestly at all times. Let your yes be yes and your no, no (5: 12).
Pray earnestly, always & in all circumstances (5: 13 18).
Admonish one another in love (5: 19 20).
To these we could safely add this counsel: Obey and serve God wherever He has placed you.
Copyright 2006 by Felix Amiri.
Felix Amiri holds a certificate in Bible studies from London Baptist Bible College (now Heritage Bible College and Seminary, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada). For additional information, go to http://www.afisservices.ca
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