James, a half-brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church, provided pastoral guidance for the early church, showing how to live more intentionally in a real-world of threats posed by external persecution and internal bickering. Pastor ‘Jacob’ believed wisdom from above would help the church live out its faith with hope and love
Application / Reflection
- Write: James’ self-identification as a “slave” presents challenges for twenty-first-century hearers. How has the horror of American slavery made it difficult to call yourself a slave of Jesus? Reflect on why we can easily refer to Jesus as Lord, but struggle with the parallel label of slave for ourselves.
- Pray: Pray for spiritual revelation to expose resistance to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Confess areas where the American ideals of individualism and self-fulfillment still have a hold on your life. Ask for the wisdom and grace to lay down your life and follow Jesus on His mission.
- Share: Slaves of Jesus never labor alone. Discuss what it means to serve as slaves with other people. How does God gift us differently on the mission? How do those differences cause conflict at times? How can a common identity provide insight for moving beyond the conflict to purposeful missionary service?
By Jim Littles
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