Monday, May 02, 2005

James 1:1-15

James was a leader in the early church the fellowship of believers followingthe life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Those believers were transformed by Jesus. They had new life in him. In day to day circumstances, they sought to live in changed ways ways rooted in and stemming from Gods grace and lovein Jesus. Those early Jesus-believers found that the world around them did not always welcome the life Jesus called them to live. They also found that transformation within themselves and in their relationships with others involved a process a growingout of a pre-Jesus lifestyle and into a new Jesus-lifestyle. In short, while they experienced new life, they still faced trials (adversity from without) and temptations (adversity from within). James therefore wrote to encourage themin practical terms about how to live in transformed attitudes and behaviors each day. Face trials with joy, for trials can yield maturity. Ask God, with faith and single-mindedness, for wisdom in how to live. Place confidence and hope in God, not in worldly status and riches. Resist temptation without putting the temptation on God, for temptation comes from ones self. Today I read what James wrote. My head says yes but my heart says how. I fit part of this passage all too well being doubtful and double-minded. How can I face trials with joy, ask for wisdom with faith and single-mindedness, place confidence and hopein God, and resist temptation? I find I cannot do these things when I start with myself my own perspectives, desires, and strengths. When I start with myself, they do not even make sense. When, however, my starting point is Jesus his perspectives, his desires, his strengths I see everything differently. I see everything in a new light, in a new life. It begins to make sense. Moreover, with Jesus as my starting point with newlife in Jesus as the ground in which I root I live out of his perspectives, desires, and strengths; and I find I can grow in facing trials and temptations in newness and holiness of life.

Gregory Strong

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