James: How to Live the Gospel
The book of James is known as "the Proverbs of the New Testament". It was written around 45 AD by James, who was the half-brother of Jesus and one of the leaders in the church. He was writing the letter, possibly the earliest letter written to the church, to The Church (the dispersion) that had been scattered due to persecution.
This first section of James speaks to trials and how to handle them. We need to "count it all joy when you face trials of various kinds." James is saying that we should have joy when we meet the trial, knowing that the trial is not an accident, and we will not have to walk it alone.
We must remember to have good PERSPECTIVE. In verse 3, we see that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. We grow the most in our faith through the trials of life. Our human nature tells us to "fix it yourself no matter the cost", but perspective shows us that there is a greater good at the other end. Steadfastness is ABIDING. Trials bring "good into us and out of us". Perspective makes us either "bitter" or "better". In verse 4, we see that the result of the trial is to always help us become "full and perfect". This comes from the word, "Telos", which means mature, whole, or complete.
So, what do we do with this trial and faith-building time in our life?
We ask God to give us an understanding of what to do with it (verse 5). We ask in faith, and then DO IT, otherwise we are "like a wave of the sea". Verse 12 reminds us that the ultimate reward for our trials, through maturity, is eternal life! Again, we must keep perspective.
Trials - from God to make us better.
Temptations - from the enemy to destroy us. If something you are going through contradicts the Word, then it is a temptation. Flee!
Remember, in all of this, that God is immutable (unchanging). That brings comfort. Verse 17 tells us that every good gift from God includes trials...perspective.
To Discuss Today:
1. Recall a trial in your past and how God matured you in your faith as a result of that trial.
2. How does perspective impact the way you see a trial?
3. Use your ABLE field guide this week!