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Friday, 6 July 2018

James 1 : 1-18

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” -James 1:2

Christ Jesus before leaving the earth did warn His disciples including all of us with these words found in John 16:33 that we are bound to face trials in this life, but our hope is in Him who overcame all that He faced. The apostles believed His words and they experienced this victory in their lives! What did they practice to ensure this victory?

James in today’s reading speaks of 3 areas every believer needs to work on, in their lives so as to become overcomers in times of trials and temptations.

Patience –[Jam 1:4] The word patience is explained as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. Patience is that fruit that is borne in each of as we are led by the Spirit of God in the wake of our sufferings. Why this fruit? James further explains this in 5:7& 8 as he exhorts the Christians facing incredible pressure that the present world is not their home, God was using these trials to make them complete and mature as they patiently suffer injustice on earth until His coming, thus preparing a people with a heavenly perspective. Is this our perspective when we face trials?

Wisdom –[Jam 1:5] This is the second quality we need to possess when we face trials of all sorts. James talks about two kinds of wisdom—one heavenly and the other earthly. To prevent us from behaving in the earthly wisdom he encourages us to ask God who gives us His wisdom liberally. This wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle and merciful, without partiality and hypocrisy. We see this wisdom operate in the life of David even as he faced severe trials while running away from Saul and Absalom. This heavenly wisdom prevented him from taking revenge on Saul or reacting to the taunts of Shimei. He allowed God to vindicate him and God did.

Jesus too operated in this heavenly wisdom when He entrusted himself into the hands of the one who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23) when he faced various kinds of trials.  “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” (Phil.2:9). May we during trying times act wisely by allowing God to fight our battles rather than take matters into our own hands.

Endurance- [vs 12] The third quality needed in the life of each Christian to overcome temptation is- endurance. The dictionary defines it as an ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. The hardest races in the world are called the ‘Endurance Races’ where the body and mind are put to the ultimate test as they face the steepest ascent and descent, unforgiving temperatures, intense terrain and unimaginable distances— all this is done just to win a crown that will fade.

To us the followers of Christ, the writer to the Hebrews challenges us to run this Christian race with such tenacity and endurance because Jesus has set us an example by His obedience by enduring every hardship even the death on the cruel cross that in the end he would receive a place of honour beside God. (Heb 12:1-3) The first century Christians endured such persecutions, but they knew that their God was waiting for them with the crown of life (Jam 1:12).

Will our lives portray these qualities in the wake of suffering? 

Quote for the Day : “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”   (2 Corinthians 4:16)

LISTEN- Be still my soul

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