Focus: James 5
James, the brother of Jesus Christ, is the writer of the Book of James. He was the head of the Council in Jerusalem and became a very faithful leader in the Lord's Church among the Jews. In this final chapter, James alerts us to his final thoughts. He has a warning for the rich oppressors and in line with his entire work, he admonishes believers to have patience in suffering. He closes with a prayer of faith. James is so practical in his approach. We know that the love of money is the root of all evil, so when people begin to love their money than God's creation, it is natural for them to become cold and callous. Money often translates to power and then power can be used for unrighteous dominion. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the favor of God through financial success, but when that success creates a hardness in our hearts for the poor and needy, that is the beginning of the rot that will lead to the rich's destruction. Even Jesus said that it was harder for the rich to get into heaven than it was for a camel to go through the eye of the needle. Now this eye of the needle was a small gate in the wall of Jerusalem. It was possible for a camel to make it, but it was not easy!
Suffering is an organic result of the being a Christian. Not because God creates it, but the world creates it . Evil hates the good naturally even though good is no threat to evil. We must therefore be patient in the face of suffering. The prophets suffered and they were blessed for their sacrifice. So we shall be blessed as we show perseverance in the face of stress and turmoil!
Finally, prayer is the one action that we can do that changes things. James says that the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. So let us fight the world and evil from our knees and not standing toe to toe with it. The reason why fighting evil with evil does not work is because we become like them until there is no need to fight evil because we have become evil. We MUST fight evil with good and prayer is just the place to start. In this way, we tap into the power of heaven and when evil fights the ultimate good, they will lose every time because they have already lost! So let us follow the admonition of James and find patience through prayer and standing firm against evil from our position of power - on our knees! Amen