BOOK OF JAMES Entry 5
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
(To see Entry 1-4 go to my blog titled "THE BOOK OF JAMES"
James 1:1 Greetings from James
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, Greeting."
James gives a quick greeting after telling those who read his letter who he was: a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not brag that he was the half-brother of Jesus or that he was the leader of the church at Jerusalem. He simply stated what was in his heart and what was most important for him to share. James was a leader but more importantly, he considered himself a servant.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers (various) temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work and entire, wanting nothing.
Temptation here refers to some form of difficulty or pressure in our lives that God uses to try and prove out faith and to develop in us perseverance and Godly character so that we may be perfect (mature) and entire wanting nothing.
Perfect here reflects the Biblical idea of maturity, defined as a right relationship with God that bears fruit in a sincere endeavor to love Him with all one’s heart in undivided devotion, obedience, and blamelessness.
We are to face our trials with joy, because these trials can produce righteous fruit in us as we persevere in faith and hope.
Something that is very important to realize is this: Trials are sometimes brought in to our lives so that God can test the sincerity of our faith, but nowhere does scripture teach that trials are an indication that God is displeased with us. Instead, trials indicate that God recognizes our faith and has confidence in our commitment to him.
Be sure to remember that “trials” and “temptation” are not the same. We are taught that God cannot be tempted of evil neither can the tempt men. (James !:13)
And just a quick side journey–ponder upon these two things:
1) God approached Satan when he saw Satan trying to find someone to torment and asked Satan, “Have you considered my servant, Job”? (Job 1:8)
2) Job’s fortune was returned back to good when he prayed for his (unkind) friends. (Job 42: 10)
To summarize what this says to me in James 1:2-4 (and Job):
We will have trials and in those trials we will experience emotional and/or physical pain, but if we persevere in our faith through the trials God will carry us through the trials and on the other side of them we will be rewarded for our faithfulness. At the same time we will be a witness by our actions to others and can use our experiences to draw from to help someone else who goes through similar circumstances.
MY QUESTIONS TO YOU:
1) Are you going through a trial right now that you need others to pray for and with you about?
2) Have you gone through a trial and come out on the other side and seen God reward your diligent faith?
MY PRAYER FOR YOU:
Father, in the name of Jesus, I bring my Christian brothers and sisters who are facing trials to you. I ask that your mercy abound in their lives and that they find your grace is sufficient for any trial they are facing. Give them strength to endure. Shorten the time of their suffering for your name’s sake. Let them sense your presence and feel your spiritual arms around them. Send them someone in the flesh, Father, to pray with them and to hold them up in prayer and to help them out in any way needed. Help them to remember to pray for others even while they are in their own trials. And, Father, for those of my brothers and sisters who have come out the other side of a trial and become a better person for it, let them use their experiences to help others, not in a boastful or judgmental way, but with love and kindness and gentleness. Let them remember where they once were and let them realize that sometimes when a person is down and out that just giving them a simple hug and telling them, “God loves you and I love you too,” can be the one act that can help bring them through. Father, I ask these things in the name of Jesus and I give you thanks for hearing and answering my prayers. Amen and Amen.