Today we begin our summer review on the Book of James, “Living a Life of Faith” by Angie K. Smith. If you were with us for our Spring Inductive study on James, you know how very rich with truths the book of James is and how prevalent it is for us today. None of us are exempt from the experience of difficult times, which is part of daily life on planet Earth. However, James has much to say in his short book on how we can handle the trials that come into our lives.
James’ letter is written to the twelve tribes of Israel who were dispersed abroad (James 1:1). Christians during this time in Jerusalem were scattered throughout the Roman world. These Christians were in the midst of severe persecution, and James wrote to them to encourage them to keep the faith, not to give up.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,” James 1:2
James doesn’t say if trouble comes your way but when it does. The point James is trying to hit home is we do not have to pretend to be happy when we face painful times, but to have a positive outlook.
So what do we know about James?
James was a natural born son of Mary and Joseph and the half-brother of Jesus. James and Jesus’ other brothers didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah (John 7:5), but eventually they believed. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:15 that not only did Jesus’ brothers come to believe in Him, they became missionaries for the early church.
The death and resurrection of Jesus changes lives. The Brother, whom James thought was “just a man,” conquered death and rose again, and James was never the same again. And so should it be for us today. Once we come to know and believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our lives are changed, and we are never the same.
The book of James challenges us to see our trials with a new perspective, and to consider them joy. This is an ongoing theme throughout the study of James. We cannot change our circumstances, but we can change our perspective on how we view our trials. What a message of hope and faith this is to us today!
What are you suffering today? What are some ways we can keep the faith and rejoice in suffering? How should James 1 cause us to live?
Praying for you,