Spiritual Boot Camp Day 1

I hope you are ready for our first day of spiritual boot camp as we begin to dive into the book of James and spend time in prayer seeing how the Lord wants us to apply these passages to our own lives. When you look at a small passage of Scripture and really break it apart you will be amazed at how much meaning is packed into just a few lines.

James 1:1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.

James identifies himself as the author of this letter. Notice how he identified himself – “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” – very different from how we define ourselves today. In giving introductions, we usually define ourselves by our jobs, i.e. I’m a teacher, I’m an engineer, I work for Joe Smith Company, etc. James identifies himself first and foremost as a servant. How do you define yourself and how do you introduce yourself?

The next part of the introduction says he is a “servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ”. We usually identify ourselves with our family members – I’m Bill’s wife, I’m Allison and Emily’s mom. James identifies himself as belonging to the family of God and being a servant to Him. What a powerful statement to make. How would your perception of yourself change if you were to identify yourself as a servant of the Lord first and foremost, if that was the defining characteristic of who you are?

The rest of the first verse tells us who James is writing to – “the 12 tribes scattered among the nations”. We know that James is writing to a Christian audience because he identified himself as a servant of the Lord but this last part gives us even more information about the recipients. The 12 tribes lets us know that James is writing to Jewish Christians versus Gentile Christians because the 12 tribes refers to the 12 tribes of Israel. 

The final part of the first verse tells us that it is written to those “scattered among the nations”. This final piece of information lets us know that it was probably written to the church after the death of Stephen when people were fearful and fled to avoid being persecuted for being a follower of Christ.

Are you surprised how much information was packed into one small verse? We won’t always cover one verse a day, but I wanted to really break down this verse so we could understand who was writing the letter and who the recipients were. Spend sometime in prayer and think about how you describe yourself or introduce yourself. Where do you find your sense of identity? Is it in your job, your hobbies, your family, etc.? Pray and seek to find out how God would introduce you, what would He say about you that would identify to others who you are. 

I pray this spiritual boot camp will transform all of us into the people we were created to be so we can live the lives God prepared in advance for us to live and may He be glorified in all we we do. Blessings!

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21 thoughts on “Spiritual Boot Camp Day 1

  1. Debby Scarborough

    Thanks for the great insight into one small, important verse!!! Love doing this with you!

    • Debbie, there is such richness in His Word if we slow down enough to read it and meditate on it. Congrats on making it through day 1. Hope your praye time is blessed.

  2. I often find that I introduce myself as a mom of 6. It’s almost as if I want to get that out of the way to shield myself from any negativity. I never thought about that until reading this now.

    • Reaching4hishem, praise God for his revelation! I love it when He helps me see things I never saw before or recognize things I didn’t recognize. I am so blessed to have you joining us on this journey through James. I know you will be blessed as you spend time in His Word and in prayer and I am blessed by your comment!!

  3. Tom Kitchens

    Shelly,

    I am glad to see you diving into the Epistle of James. It is a wonderful and practical application of our Lord’s Gospel. I look forward to following your lessons.

    • Tom, so excited to have you join us for boot camp. You are such a wealth of knowledge, I look forward to your input.

  4. What blows me away about James is his complete transformation after the resurrection. Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, James is the brother that comes to take his crazy brother Jesus back home… James thinks Jesus is nuts! (Mark 3:20-35).
    But after the resurrection, Jesus’ brother James becomes a leader in this new movement… and becomes so devoted he loses his life!
    I marvel at the power and change that occurs when people recognize the risen Christ!
    (Hope I didn’t steal any future posts!)
    Be blessed… and keep up the great work on the Boot Camp!

  5. Bill, thanks so much for sharing your insight. You did a great job of explaining the transformation in James after the resurrection. May we all experience the transformational power of the risen Lord in our lives! Glad to have you joining boot camp and I look forward to your future input. Blessings!!

  6. Christie Williams

    Wow – because Robert and I are both public servants we are constantly introducing ourselves, usually by our titles, this really hits home! Even though these are God-given titles and it is often necessary and appropriate to say them when introducing ourselves or one another, this has opened my mind to be forever in rememberence that it is ONLY by the grace of God we are who we are who we are, at home or away, and that it is Him whom we serve in ALL roles. I needed this reminder. Thanks, Shelly!

    • Christie – how awesome God spoke to you through this post! We all definitely have titles based on what we do but the reminder that we are who we are first and foremost because He created us is very helpful. I think if we really saw ourselves as His servants first and not further down the list, we might just act more like servants in our lives. Love having you join the discussion, Christie!!

    • Christie, it is so easy for us to get caught up in what we do and identifying ourselves by that. I love the reminder that we are first of all servants of the Lord. I hope people see that in me. What a joy to have you joining the boot camp. You are an amazing woman of God and I am looking forward to you sharing your insights.

  7. I look forward to journeying through James with you. I’ve invited by Twitter follows to join in as well.

    • Julie, thanks for sharing this with others. I love the idea of being able to study Scripture with people all around the world. I am excited to see people share their insights and grow in their faith along the way. Welcome to the journey!

  8. Shelly, As usual, you have a wonderful way of explaining Scripture. Thank you for your insight on this verse.

    • Julie, thanks! I am happy to have you join the boot camp. I think it will be a wonderful way for us to really study James and share our insights with one another.

  9. Nelda de Hoyos

    I love the study of James, and I am happy to be a recipient of your gifted teaching. My niece suggested that I sign up for a “physical” boot camp, and now I can tell her that I am already signed up for one that is much better. Keep the inspiration flowing, Shelly, and may the Lord be honored.

    • Nelda, I am so excited to have you join the boot camp. I am looking forward to hearing your comments and insights. Being able to share this with a dear friend like you is a true blessing!

  10. Wilma

    The way I explain to some people is: 1st, I’m a child of God; 2nd, I’m a member of my family; 3rd, I am an American (thank You, God for letting me be born in the best country!); and 4th, I’m a Texan (God, You must really like me!). I do consider that maybe I should think about how James does it. It makes great sense. Thank you, my friend.

    • Wilma, what a beautiful thing you see yourself as a child of God first and foremost. We are certainly blessed to live in a country with religious freedom where we have lots of opportunities to worship the Lord and grow in our faith. I love how James refers to himself as as servant as well. So thrilled to have you join the boot camp dear friend!

  11. Nice, Shelley. I hope that even without speaking a word, others could identify the Christ in me. I hope that my deed would be reflective of His grace. One thing I have always loved about this verse is how it clearly refutes any speculation about there being ‘lost tribes’ of Israel. James addresses all of the twelve!

    • Sue, amen! What a beautiful idea for people to see Christ in us even without us having to say a word, that our actions would reflect us as His servants. Glad to have you joining the boot camp and sharing your thoughts. Blessings!

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