Sometimes we act as if finding God’s will is a version of the old 3-shell con game: where a marble is hidden under one shell and the con man moves them rapidly around the table and you have to guess which shell contains the marble. No matter which shell you pick you are always wrong. I would argue that the problem is not God hiding his will. The problem is the way we are looking for it.
In James 5:7-12, James begins concluding his letter with practical advice on how to get through the suffering of this life.
In James 4:13-5:6, James warns against the arrogant use of time, talent and wealth. James makes a deeper point than “let’s hear ‘if the Lord wills’ more often.” Notice his emphasis on boasting in your arrogance and knowing the right thing and not doing it.
In 4:11-12, James again confronts his readers with living what they believe. James warns not to judge others as if I have some moral superiority, when the gospel tells us we all need the same grace.
Fights and quarrels among believers are symptoms of a deeper problem of leaning on earthly wisdom rather than seeking God’s wisdom.
Operating with earthly wisdom comes easy and naturally to us. We have to seek God to gain godly wisdom. How, then, do we gain it?
Since Bible teachers presume to explain the word of God to others, James warns them to seriously consider the responsibility before seeking the job.
James 2:21-26 is the second half of the “problem” passage where it appears that the Apostles James and Paul disagree about how we are justified. The key to resolving the apparent contradiction is context. James and Paul are addressing two different questions.
James and Paul appear to contradict each other because they use the same vocabulary: faith, works and justification. Plus they both appeal to Abraham. But they use the same language in very different contexts to address different problems and answer different questions.
Judging by external appearance is at the heart of James 2:1-13. But James is not concerned with whether we are nice to people or not. James is raising a more profound question: how are you looking at the world?