W. Terry Varner
November 15, 2015

The Epistle of James is thematic with emphasis on Practical Christianity. Interestingly, when Jesus was in His ministry, James, His brother, did not follow Him. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to James (cf. 1 Cor. 15:7) and James was converted. He writes the first book in the New Testament and shows Christianity’s practicalness. Christianity requires committed living (cf. Rom. 12:1-2). Whether these Christians to whom James writes were Jews, Gentiles, or a mixture of both, all Christians must be committed to Jesus.

Commitment in Life. To encourage commitment among Christians, James states the following: 1) “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren (James 1:16, emp. added). James, hoping to head off any Christian from being deceived, encouraged them to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22, emp. added). 2) The Christian must handle his faith with care or he will be deceived. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26, emp. added). 3) Commitment involves pure lives. “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father . . . visit the orphans and widows . . . and to keep one’s self unspotted from the world” (James 1:27, emp. added).

Commitment Needed. The life of the committed Christian is different from the life of those living by worldly standards. James says Christians need to be prepared to endure the trials of life (cf. James 1:2-4). The life of the committed Christian will produce trials; however, this in turn matures one’s faith and endurance. In all of our difficulties, we are to “count it all joy” (James 1:7). Commitment results in being “complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4).

Commitment Needs Wisdom. When Solomon began his reign he understood the necessity of commitment and asked God for wisdom (cf. 2 Chron. 1:7-12). James realized the need for God’s wisdom as it supplies what we lack and encourages us. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to them” (James 1:5). The Christian can obtain wisdom by praying for wisdom. It is quite significant that James did not say, ‘But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him study philosophy, or, let him mediate, or, let him consult the wise.’ The wisdom which we need, and must have, to turn our trials into triumphs is available only from God. . . . [the] one who desires the divine wisdom must get down on his knees . . . the wisdom which has its home in the depth of the soul only God can bestow. Of the manner in which God bestows this wisdom the writer does not deal; it is a fact of it which is here affirmed” (Guy N. Woods, James 40-41).

Commitment’s Rewards. When Christians are committed to God there are rewards that he enjoys from God’s hands. Jesus speaks of the Christian’s rewards in Luke 6:22-23 when the Christian is faithful in enduring the trials of life. James promises the reward of “the crown of life” (James 1:12) to those who persevere under trial and who pass the test with faithfulness.

The “crown of life” is speaking of enjoy the blessings of heaven. The reward of commitment to Jesus enables us to receive and wear the crown of life (cf. 2 Tim. 4:8). The question for each Christian is are we deeply committed to living for Jesus so that at the judgment we receive the “crown of life”? If not, why not?