Living Out Loud: James Chapter 5
As we close our Living Out Loud study, let’s consider how we treat others in our lives.
Are we quick to forgive, extend mercy, and love? Or are we short-tempered and complacent?
Let’s look further at James 5 and ponder how God wants us to treat others.
I.Proper Treatment of Others (James 5:1-6)
In the first six verses, James begins with what the proper treatment of others looks like. As you consider this passage in scripture, have an open mind and an open heart of reflection.
Riches and Resources (vs. 1-3)
The beginning of this chapter serves as a warning to those who have lived in the riches of their resources. James tells them to weep and cry because God’s judgment is coming!
We must be careful how we engage with the riches we have accrued, taking inventory of how we value these things because, eventually, it all will fade away!
How do you relate to your earthly wealth? Unfortunately, many of us have put so much energy into our bank accounts, working overtime and not serving God because we are more interested in making money. If we don’t wake up, this will become the ruin of us, both on earth and in the kingdom of God.
Remember, all things on this earth will fade away. Therefore, everything you have gathered will not amount to anything. Take heed of this warning.
Mistreatment of Others (vs. 4-6)
For generations, man has partnered with gained riches by mistreating other people.
Maybe you haven’t compensated people fairly for the work that was done. Or perhaps, you are on the other side of the spectrum and have not been paid what should have been owed.
God’s word is evident in that when you hire someone to do a task; you should pay them appropriately. And be warned that God sees when we resist righteousness in all areas of our lives, especially in how we treat others.
Whenever I hire people, I try to treat people righteously.
Now you may be thinking, I don’t own a business, so this doesn’t apply to me. However, let’s think outside the box.
When I go to a restaurant, I try to bless my server with a significant tip. When we dine out in an establishment, we pay for the food and the service. Sadly, some of you go out to eat, requesting that your server run back and forth as they wait on you, and you leave without ever honoring them with appropriate compensation. (All the while, most of you know these people live off their tips.)
These first six verses of James chapter 5 say that when you’re living out loud, in a way acceptable to God, you are to treat others fairly.
Because how you treat others, both fairly and unjustly, will be made known unto the throne of God.
II.Walk Patiently While Waiting on the Lord (James 5:7-12)
In James 5, we are being challenged to walk in the patience and confidence of the Lord as we endure day-to-day issues.
Sowing Seeds Takes Time! (vs. 7)
The farmer knows what it means to wait. He has learned to plant a seed in the right season and that the harvest of that seed will not happen overnight.
Where in your life are you impatiently waiting for a crop to sprout up?
We must remember that a harvest takes time.
Let the seed die, germinate underneath the ground, and give it time for its roots to spring forth.
While you can’t see it, in due season, it will flourish and bring forth fruit.
The Kingdom of God is like a crop waiting to be harvested. When I sow a financial seed in my giving, I’ve learned not to look for a harvest tomorrow. Whatever I plant today, I’m looking for my harvest in six months. And as I wait, I can remember the goodness of God because today, I am reaping the harvest of what I planted months ago.
Saints, you must remember that the crop doesn’t come overnight; you must give it time. Learn how to be patient.
The Fruit of Patience (vs. 8)
While we can’t control the elements and circumstances, one thing we can stand firm on is that God will bring the fruit!
Whatever you’re going through, as you keep moving forward by making the right choices and waiting for God to bring victory in the battle, be assured that there will be a Kingdom harvest in the next season.
Walk with God, depend on Him, and while you are waiting patiently on the Lord, He will prove himself faithful.
No Grumbling (vs. 9)
Some challenges come in the waiting. However, don’t get mad and upset with other people while waiting for the Lord to respond.
We must remember to trust Him at His word. Don’t give into grumbling at others so as not to be condemned because the Lord is standing at the door of judgment.
Job (vs. 10)
Countless prophets in the Bible have preached what was on their hearts, warning others about what God has taught them. And many of them never saw the results of their labor in their lifetimes!
Yet, they were the ones who spoke in the name of the Lord and are an example of suffering and patience. Some of them were beaten and put to death; but patiently endured because they knew that, one day, God would vindicate them.
We can learn patience by observing how Job responded to God throughout his journey.
If you don’t know the story of Job, I encourage you to read the entire book in the Old Testament. He lost not only his family but also his riches, yet he faithfully wrestled with God.
Because Job was faithful in his patience, God gave him double for his trouble! (Job 42:10-12) He walked with and kept his eyes on the Lord, and even as his friends doubted him and his wife told him to curse God and die, Job faithfully waited on God.
May we remember Job in our hardships. He worshiped God in the blessing and loss and endured by remembering God’s goodness, even in the waiting.
Building Character (vs. 11-12)
Be encouraged; if you are going through a season of hardship right now, know that, just as God allowed trials to happen to Job, He is doing the same for us so that He can build character within us!
In return, He wants to show you His nature and character. He wants you to see that He is a God who will fight the battle and give you victory because He is the God who is compassionate and merciful!
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes.”
Romans 8:28, NKJV
Sometimes devastating things happen to us in life, but I am convinced that God has a purpose behind it. And while it may not be apparent right now, you will see the benefit from it in due time.
All glory to God!
III.Handling Life’s Challenges (James 5:13-18)
What do we do when we have challenges?
Learn to Pray (vs. 13)
In your suffering, what do you do? You pray. Learn to be a prayer warrior.
Don’t underestimate the power of prayer and a personal relationship with God.
He is faithful in that whatever issues we have going on in our life, in whatever we think or feel, both good and bad, we can come to Him.
If you are suffering, pray!
Are things going well? Sing!
Regardless of what we are walking through, there is always a reason to turn our eyes upon the Lord.
Medicine of the Day (vs. 14-15)
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
James 5:14, NKJV
What does it mean to anoint with oil?
It’s a symbol; there is no power in the oil!
Biblically speaking, it means to apply the medicine of the day. The same goes for us today. Whatever the medicine of your culture is, use it.
If you have cancer, get treatment.
If there is a virus, get the vaccination (and the booster!)
Over the past two years, our country has experienced the judgment of those who have listened to foolishness on the internet. In the United States alone, we have had over one million people die from the Covid-19, and some people choose not to vaccinate because of foolish information from someone they don’t know. Unfortunately, because of that choice, the result has been death.
I believe James 5 says that we trust prayer and take the medicine of the day.
My beloved father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. So, he underwent an operation to remove it. Years later, he was diagnosed again and decided he would let God take care of it, not wanting to get treatment. But, the cancer continued to grow, and his wife encouraged him get treatment.
He was one of the godliest men I have met in my life, and when he decided not to pursue medical intervention, we as a family stood with him, believed and prayed with him.
And while the medical team eventually removed the second round of cancer, because he decided to wait, the aggressive treatment escalated to the point of ceasing his organs. I firmly believe that if he had pursued treatment sooner, he might still be living today.
Through this personal circumstance, God taught me just how crucial modern medicine is.
The Power of Prayer (vs. 15-18)
As we consider the medicine of the day, we must also remember to partner that with prayer. It is not one or the other, but both!
While healing can be found in modern medicine, it is also pursued through confession partnered with prayer.
It is essential to have relationships in your life where you can confess your struggles and issues while receiving prayer and community.
Elijah, a servant and prophet of God had a nature just like ours. Yet he faithfully prayed and asked God to stop the rain, and God answered his prayer – for three and a half years! And he prayed again, and the earth flourished with fruit.
No prayer is too small, insignificant, or foolish. Trust that the Lord hears His children. And as you partner with His will, the power of God will be made known.
IV.Reaching For the Backslidden (James 5:19-20)
In a world with so many that are lost, what is the Lord calling us to do?
He is challenging us to win souls for Christ! As we seek the lost, we win them from complete separation from God.
Some of you know people who have separated from God. Please don’t turn your heart away from them, but recognize that they need you to pray and make an appeal for them.
Write each name on your prayer list and be a person who is praying and interceding for those who cannot see. Join me in pursuing this burden of lifting up those who need to know Jesus.
Who will you be praying for?