If we read the opening lines of the epistle of James carefully, it might appear that James refers to God and to the Lord as two separate identities. Is it possible that he served two gods or persons? If not, why does James not just call himself a servant of God, or only a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ? What is his reason for writing of himself in this way?
From the Bible we know that the Lord Jesus is God Himself (see 1 Jn 5:20; Rom 9:5; 1 Tim 3:15). Furthermore, when Jesus appeared to him, Thomas exclaimed that Jesus was the Lord and God (Jn 20:28). If we keep these verses in mind, we can also help other people understand that the Son of God is actually God Himself.
There is no doubt that James was called to be a servant of God. But his statement highlights his willingness to have Jesus as his perfect example. If we were suddenly called to do Godâ€™s work today, we might work with the attitudes and spirit of the people around us. We may eventually lose our zeal or compulsion to push forward. We often continue with the traditions that have been handed down from us (not that all traditions are bad). But have you ever thought about the way the Pharisees conducted themselves in the service of God?
For James, Paul, and the other apostles, the Lord Jesus was their master and the ultimate example to follow. Unfortunately, sometimes we might be tempted just to execute the work, but neglect the spirit behind the work. The love behind each task or the preparation of our hearts gets left behind. Isn't this what the Lord Jesus was talking about when He reminded one of the seven churches concerning their first love (Rev 2:4)?
James served God with the prime example of Jesus' own servitude to God while He was on earth. If we read Paulâ€™s letter to the Philippians, the Lord Jesus took the form of a bondservant (Phil 2:7). Therefore, James took on the role as a bondservant of God in the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. With this spirit, he would avoid the need to compare himself with other people, or avoid falling prone to jealousy or other evil thoughts that might arise. It is with this spirit that we should offer our service to God today.