Our look at James 1 is not an in-depth Bible study, but rather a look at James from a personal perspective, contemplating how to apply it to our busy 21st century lives.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4, ESV
Book of James Reflections is not an in-depth Bible study, but rather a look at James from a personal perspective, contemplating how to apply it to our busy 21st century lives.
Our thoughts today are from James 1:2-4. Many of my thoughts are "cultivated" by the writings of Charles Simeon who was an Anglican from England in the late 1700's and early 1800's.
James begins his thoughts: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. In this, the 21st century, many of us have not had the perception of dying for our faith. Although many throughout the world do!
The question we must ask is, do we just have a form only of godliness without its power? What does that mean? In other words, is our faith a convenient way to avoid eternal punishment or are we sold to Christ as our Lord and Master?
Coming to Christ is a complete change of heart, soul, and life. We now can agree with the Apostle Paul when he states in Philippians 1:21, For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If that is not your experience, then go to Christ and ask Him to change your heart!
Persecution is appointed by God to His people! If that statement strikes fear in your heart, that is perfectly understandable. You are not alone. The question is, am I willing to face public mocking, losing friends, or even physical suffering because I love Christ in this world so that I may live with Christ in glory forever!
Ah, that is the crux of the matter. Are we so infatuated with the things of this world that we are not willing to be humbled when we discover that the world hates God and thus, if we are living for Christ, the world hates us as well.
Having grown up in the 1950's, the change in the cultural attitude toward the Bible and true faith in Christ is striking. In the fifties, most peers in my schools went to church, and the cultural mandates were formed by the Ten Commandments. Today we live in a world where the Ten Commandments are banned from public places and everyone does what is right in their own eyes.
However, we soon learn that though everyone does what is right in their own eyes, they expect us to accept them as they are and are offended if we do not live as they live.
Are we ready to face their scorn? That is really what the Apostle Paul is saying in chapter 1 of the Book of James.
However, the verse does not end there. Verse 4 of chapter 1 states, And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
This quote from Charles Simeon reflects the essence of these verses and their application to our lives today.
What Charles Simeon is stating is not that we become perfect and without sin, for that will only happen in Heaven, but rather the joy, peace, and comfort that come from committing our lives wholly to Christ will surpass the pleasure we receive from the commendation of those in the world.
So, in these Book of James Reflections, I urge you to commit your lives to Christ so that He becomes everything to you. That, my dear friend, is the only path to real joy, peace, contentment, and love in this world.
May God richly bless you,