Father, I know every good gift comes from you, the unchangeable One. Thank You for all Your good gifts. Thank You for using trials to make Your people mature and complete. Thank You for giving wisdom when we ask for it. Help me persevere today in whatever circumstances come my way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read James 1
James 1:1–8 Do you rejoice when life is hard? James wrote to Christians who were dispersed throughout the Roman world because of persecution. He told them to rejoice because their trials were refining their faith, making them steadfast so they would be complete and perfect on the last day.
We need wisdom from God to endure trials—wisdom that sees God’s purposes and wisdom to respond appropriately. Praise God, for He gives generously to those who ask without being double-minded. The double-minded person always has one eye on the world, and he doesn’t know if he wants God’s way or the world’s. He wants to serve two masters, but he must make up his mind (see Matthew 6:24).
James 1:9–18 The Christian in low circumstances should boast in his eternal riches in Christ, while the wealthy Christian should boast that he is deeply sinful but has a great Savior. All earthly riches will pass away. We all die, but those who love God and remain steadfast in trials will receive eternal life.
Although trials come from God to refine our faith, temptation comes not from God but from our own desires. We want comfort, security, and ease in life—and too often we’re willing to sin to get it. But sin leads to death. We should not be deceived by the world’s promises. Every good thing in our lives, including the refining of our faith, comes from our heavenly Father who never changes. He planned our salvation and saved us by the gospel of his Son Jesus. As Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”
James 1:19–27 The natural yet sinful response to trials is anger. However, Christians should listen, be slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Anger doesn’t produce righteousness in the one who becomes angry, nor does it encourage righteousness in the one who is the brunt of the anger. Instead of getting angry, Christians should reject all sinful ways and instead apply the Word of God in difficult situations. Instead of pridefully doing what we think is good for us, we should humbly accept God’s way. After all, the Word implanted in our hearts is able to save our souls.
We should not deceive ourselves by thinking that hearing the Word is what transforms us. After all, knowledge alone puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1), and we should be doers of the Word also. That Word tells us we’re sinners saved by faith in Jesus Christ. So, when we contemplate the law of liberty—the gospel of Christ—it enables us to persevere in doing good in the midst of trials. It enables us to bridle our tongues, care for orphans and widows, and resist the temptations of the world.
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
- What trials are you facing? Will you ask our generous God for wisdom, knowing He is sovereign and good? Or will you handle your trials in the ways of the world?
- How does the gospel of Christ change the way you look at trials? Does it give you joy to know your heavenly Father is working in and through your trials for your good?
- In the next day or so, take stock of how you handle trials. Consider an irritation or difficult situation: do you react in anger or humbly apply the Word?
- How would you describe your religion? Does your speech confirm it? Are you caring for others, particularly those in your church who are suffering? What are you doing to keep yourself unstained from the world?
- Using the lessons from James, how can you help other brothers and sisters in their trials?
- Discuss financial stewardship with your accountability partner. Do you have a budget? Do you keep to it? Are you giving generously to your local church and to others? How can you grow in stewardship of the resources the Lord has entrusted to you? Use the financial stewardship assessment below to help guide you. [Being a Disciple]
- Do you have a budget?
- Do you have consumer debt? how much?
- Do you give regularly to your church or other ministries?