Read James 1:1-4 – First, to find James, turn to the back of your bible, Revelation, then turn 40-50 pages in (if you have a thick bible like I do). You’ll pass Jude, 123John, 12Peter these are all short epistles. James is sandwiched between Hebrews and 1 Peter.
Now, if your bible contains some sort of introduction, read that. The James who wrote this is Jesus’ brother. He was not an apostle. The book of James is one of the earliest written in the New Testament. Let’s think about that. This would have been all the first believers had to go on, and as you read I think you’ll discover how comprehensive James was for Christian living.
Beloved, we are the only bible many people will read. People will not go to church or dust off their great grampa’s bible to consider Jesus, but they will watch you, how you live, if you have integrity and joy. Do you have a life that makes Jesus apparent?
James writes to the twelve tribes that were scattered among the nations. This would have been after the events of Acts, when Stephen was martyred and the Jewish-Christians fled in many directions. Life was difficult, they did not have a church to lean into because it was all brand new. Yet, it also applies to every believer today too. So, what is the first thing James tells them:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops your perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” :2-4
Beloved, is joy your go to emotion when you face a trial? The natural inclination in a trial is fear and worry, but as a Christian you are to take those off and put on joy. This takes some training. James not only tells believers what to do, he tells us why. ‘Why’ is a good thing to know when you have to make a hard change in your thinking. He says it is to develop perseverance, and he gives that a ‘why’ as well… so we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Now, that sounds good to me!
I pray this verse permeates you. I encourage you to memorize it, so when you find yourself in a trial you’re able to cast those fears and worries at the foot of the cross and set your heart and mind on the joy and all that ties into a life lived for Jesus our Savior.