Life According to James DAY ONE
Trials Bring Life
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV
Many of you are starting your Journey Groups about right now, and you are learning about the power of God’s Word and how journaling can help you learn to apply His word to your life. In the session called, God is Willing, you are challenged to study the book of James and journal through it. Throughout church history, this book has been controversial, mainly due to the debate over faith vs. works. However, a deep dig into this book will yield much treasure for living the Christian life. This week, let’s explore it together. We will only be able to scratch the surface, but I pray it will inspire you to seek this treasure for yourself.
Trials and Temptations
James promises us that we will face trials and temptations in this life. He encourages us that God has a purpose in these trials, as He refines our faith and gives us wisdom. God is giving us a faith that can persevere through life’s ups and downs, not a weak faith dependent upon wealth and comfort. He alludes to the fact that many will be tempted to envy those who are rich. Many of us have been perplexed at why those who don’t seem to follow God live prosperous, successful lives while those of us who are doing our best to live the Christian life seem to be struggling financially. In the 13 Journey Groups I’ve led, I’ve seen more men humbled by financial trials than anything else.
We must understand that God is gracious toward His children, and He has a plan. He never promised to make us rich. James points out that the rich man and his wealth will fade away, but the man who puts his trust in God, no matter the cost, will receive a crown of life one day. He tells us not to be deceived by the world’s temptations for God is forging us through His Word and through our circumstances to bear great Fruit for God’s kingdom.
Listening and Doing
Not only does James challenge us to endure our struggles for the sake of faith, but he also says God wants authentic faith. The litmus test for our faith is in our actions and in our words. Do we really live out our faith? Do we consider ourselves Christians, yet we live in moral filth? James implores us to look in the mirror and get rid of anything in our lives which is contrary to God’s Word. If we have a hot temper, he says this should not be. If we use our tongue inappropriately, we defy our faith. He tells us to be the real deal, not Christian phonies!
Lastly, not only should our faith purify us, but also James tells us our lives of faith should result in merciful acts toward those in need. He points out widows and orphans as two examples of people who need love, protection, and provision from Christ-followers who live out their faith. He says this is the kind of “religion” the world needs.
Are you convicted yet? See you tomorrow.