The Book of James
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Walking into a church service any given weekend, seeing all the smiling faces, you may think you’re the only one facing a seemingly overwhelming problem. You might be surprised to know that beneath most of those smiling faces are individuals dealing with a multitude of issues; separation/divorce, pornography/infidelity, alcoholism/drug abuse, death/suicide, anger/rage, fear/anxiety, psychological issues, job loss, illness, abuse, distrust, hurt, etcetera. We all have something going on.
We must not grow weary of these trials because they will always exist. If you are not in a trial at one moment, something will come along soon and a new testing of your faith will begin. The Christian life is always in a constant state of change going between a resolved trial and a new trial and with each trial we grow in patience and we grow in faith towards God. The Lord has provided each of us with the strength needed for each trial and no matter how bad a situation becomes, as long as you rely on the Lord, He will give you the strength needed to endure.
The end result of all these temptations and trials is the growth of a true Christian life. Thus, if anything, we as Christians should thank the Lord for each of these trials as they are essential steps in our walk with the Lord and to becoming a fruitful Christian. God is our ever present help in times of trouble and we should let His trials shape our lives.
Questions to ponder:
- What trial are you currently facing?
- Do you trust that God can carry you through this current ordeal?
- Looking back in your life, what other trials have faced? How has persevering through those past hardships matured or strengthened you?