The reading for this week is James chapter 1 (Right-click the link and select “Open in New Window” to keep this window open).
Tip: Start by praying that God will reveal Himself through His Word as you read it.
Background: This “James” was not one of the twelve Apostles, he was Jesus’ brother. He did not become a believer until after the resurrection. This relatively short book is chock full of guidance, challenges and promises to believers.
I must admit that when verse 2 says, “”Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds . . .” that I am tempted to put the book down and say, “I’m outta here!”
Pure joy? When facing trials? I tend to just think of enduring trials. But I can’t deny that persevering eventually does great things in my life. Nothing happens to us that God doesn’t make happen or let happen, so we can trust that it will be for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
Verse 5 (If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him) contains a major-league promise. We should all meditate on that verse to remind ourselves that God will give us wisdom during trials. All we have to do is ask. No strings attached. Wisdom is different than intelligence. There are intelligent people who make lots of bad decisions, and less educated people that make mostly wise decisions.
Verses 19-20 have timeless guidance: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” Everything works out better when I follow this command.
Verse 26 always convicts me: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” Ouch. It is easy to keep a tight rein on my tongue most of the time, but not always.
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P.S. My good friend Travis memorized all of James! I have about 3 verses down. Only 105 to go!
The reading for next week is James chapter 2-3.