Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014 – James 1 – Consider it Joy

Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word. Also above in the tabs is a link to the Bible reading plan.

I want to thank you for returning to the blog. Doing a daily blog is a challenge and sometimes it feels like a chore. Sometimes I struggle to bring fresh content. I get into a rhythm of receptiveness that is often hard to break. I have found the best way to do so is to suspend the blog for a while and then return. With our reading through Acts it was hard to break back in in the middle of the book. Please forgive me for my absence.

What Does this Passage Say?
  • The book of James was written to Christians who had a Jewish heritage living throughout the Roman Empire. The book is often sited as a perfect road map for new Christians helping them understand a little about what following God looks like.
  • James begins his writing reminding the Christian that trials, temptations, maybe even persecutions are going to come their way. It is how we respond that determines whether these are helpful or hurtful. James challenges us to consider it joy when we face trials. This is a strange concept. But if we learn to consider it joy we will be quicker to see God at work. Trials make us stronger, and they lead us to victory in God.
  • He also reminds us that it is not God that tempts us, but Satan. We are tempted when we let our evil desire overcome us. This choice on our part begins a downward spiral that if not overcome can lead to death; separation from God.
  • James then goes on to encourage people to check their lives. If we want to overcome temptation and champion over the trials, then we must examine our heart and mind. James uses an analogy of looking in the mirror and forgetting what you look like as foolishness. As people living today we have the word of God. In His word is instruction on how to live a life that honors the grace and salvation He is given us. Reading the word and failing to live it out is foolishness. If we want to overcome the trials, temptations, and event the persecutions then we must put into practice what God’s word teaches.

What is this passage teaching?
  • This passage reminds us that life, even as a Christian, is not always going to be easy. Temptation will always be present and something we must keep our eyes open to. Trails will present themselves from time to time. How we handle that determines how our faith blossoms and matures. God allows us to experience trials and temptations to mold, shape, and chisel us into the beautiful creation He has in mind.

How can I apply this passage to my life?

  • Take to heart James first challenge … “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Look for the ways that God might be using this to develop you into the person He is creating you to be.