The name James means “a supplanter”. To supplant means to take one thing and replace it with another. According to Jer. 9:4 a supplanter is one who takes by the heel and trips up, a deceiver, (a Jacob), The first time this name James was used is Gen. 25:26 only the name was Jacob, which is where the name James originates. How did Jacob earn this definition of his name? It happened when he and his brother were born.
Gen. 25:24 When her (Rebekah, their mother) days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25. The first came out red all over like a hairy garment, and they named him Esau [hairy]. 26. Afterward his brother came forth, and his hand grasped Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob [supplanter]. He took Esau’s place and took it and as his own.
So, James, a supplanter, can choose to follow his ancestors lead and be a contender for God and for good. Or, he can simply do nothing, waiting for a better time maybe. Or, he can just decide to be God’s man and fight the good fight, studying God’s Word and learning how to wage war against the enemy.
A contender is one who fights, competes, struggles. Because of this meaning whether James follows God or not he will always be fighting some kind of battle. This does not mean that he will be that kind of man with a chip on his shouder looking for a fight. Nor does it mean that all his battles are internal. Whether he is following God or not he will always be struggling with the contender for our souls. And like the rest of us he will occasionally, if not often, fail.
However, as with Jacob, God will give him the wisdom as to which battles to fight and then the strength to not only fight but to be victorious. He will be able to cause others to join the battles with him. All armies need good strong leaders. James is that kind of man.
1 Tim. 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.