James 1: The Testing of Your Faith
One of the themes of the book of James is to “count it all joy” when we face hardships and trials. Oftentimes, when we experience difficulties on this earth, we want to ask, “why?” James 1:3-4 gives us that answer. When we meet these hard times, God isn’t the one testing us (see 1:13). However, God works all things together for good for those who love Him. He uses our hardships to shape and mold us into the people we need to be. When we come out of the fire, God has refined us into a person with more steadfastness.
When we are faced with difficult times and we don’t know what to do, we should ask God, for He gives generously to all. However, we must ask in faith; asking for things as if we’ve already received them. Verse 8 tells us that the one who doubts is unstable in all his ways. Those outside of Christ have no assurance, no place to rest their burdens. But the Lord secures those who trust in Him (Job 24:23).
Verse 12 tells us of our spectacular reward that awaits those who remain steadfast under trial. When we have stood the test, we will receive the best gift of all: the crown of eternal life. If that doesn’t make perseverance worth it, I don’t know what does!
When we receive blessings, joy, and good times, we should thank God! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,” verse 17 tells us. We also have a new name for our heavenly Father: Father of lights. There is no darkness found in our Father, all good things come from Him. How can we not praise Him for the good He does in our life?
You have probably heard many times that you can’t be “unequally yoked” with the world. If you love the world, the love of God isn’t in you (1 John 2:15). James 1:21 tells us to put away all wickedness, sin and filthiness in our lives.
You cannot be a part of this world, and be a faithful Christian. So many times, people come to Christ wanting salvation, but they are not willing to get rid of the worldliness in their lives. Jesus took all our worldliness and put it to death on the cross. Shake the dust of the world off your feet and live completely for Christ. Not just some, not just half, not just most of the way, but completely.
What good is it if you look in the mirror, then walk away, forgetting what you looked like? That is exactly what people do when they hear the word of God, but ignore it and keep on living our lives. We are too selfish and rooted in our sin to put it away and live for Christ. A while back I wrote a post on Project Virtue titled “Why Reading Your Bible Isn’t Enough”. It’s not good enough to just go to church, read the Bible and “appear” to be a good Christian. You’ve got to live it out.
How do we live out this Word? Verse 27 tells us: visit orphans, help widows, and live unstained from the world (see above paragraph and verse 21). This is how we are to be acceptable to Christ, not hearers who forget but doers who act.