Good morning guys,
I have copied and pasted the passage of scripture that we will be reading below. The Bible reading for week is James 1:1-18. The below version that I have copied and pasted is the NLT version. For my reflection, please see below the passage.
Greetings from James
1 This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad.
Faith and Endurance
2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
9 Believers who are[b] poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,[c] and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.[d] He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[e] 18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.[f]
My reflections on the above passage of scripture:
Wow. What a reminder of what is truly important in life, hey? I love how James speaks about trials and how we should find joy in trials because they are designed to produce spiritual maturity. It's true - trials can be so refining and really make us stop and focus on what is truly important. It's not saying to be happy when we are struggling in a trial, but rather to view trials as a long-term joy, because that is what they will produce. Worldly, temporary happiness is different to spiritual joy. I like in verse 6 how it talks about doubting being like a wave of the sea. So often I find myself trying to do everything in my own strength (going back and forth between dealing with trials in a worldly way or dealing with trials in a spiritual way, like waves swishing around).
Verses 9,10 and 11 speak about rich and poor and how both bring pressure. James exhorts the poor to boast in their high status in Christ - the ultimate gift in this world, better than any riches this life can offer! James also exhorts the rich to boast in their humiliation (the abasement of pride and leads to a state of being humbled) because wealth is temporary. None of us will take our earthly possessions to Heaven. Wealth how the world perceives it (i.e. money, fame, power, etc.) brings people no advantage before God. The church is called to be countercultural - meaning the reverse of what the world teaches. I think of the scripture in Matthew 6:24 which says "you cannot serve both God and money".
Verse 13 speaks about God testing his people, but never tempting his people. Testing = strengthening character. Temping = leading into sin. God never tempts, only tests. The enemy tempts. So if you are being tempted, that is not of God. We should never blame God when we do wrong or fall into toxic habits/out sinful nature.
Verse 17 speaks about every good and perfect gift coming from God. I love this verse because it reminds me that God truly has given us so much in this life, and we should always thank Him for his provision, grace, kindness, mercy and faithfulness. I'm not talking about financial or material provision, though we should be grateful for that. But I am referring to the ultimate gift: the gift to be able to be in relationship with God and Jesus.
I love how James is written. It's so digestible and easy to read. I see it as a bit of a mini handbook for life and living life to the fullest with God! I am really looking forward to the next 11 weeks. What did you guys get out of this? Also, if you guys have any prayer requests, please leave them below. I would love to be praying for you guys. x
Prayers for my best friend ruby who is being tested – but at the same time being such an inspiration in the way she lives life
Firstly, thank you for creating this space to read and talk about Gods word! It’s hard finding this time as a mom of a toddler, and this is such a tangible way to spend time with Him.
I found verses 5-8 to be the most convicting. Especially where it says if our loyalty is split between God and the world, we will be unstable in everything we do. We must have faith in God alone; a lesson I will be leading life-long!
I love how you simplified the difference between temptation and testing. I had never thought about it before.
It made me think of The Fall, in the Garden, where Eve (and Adam) were tempted to eat from the fruit of the tree. If they didn’t disobey God, I wonder if it would be considered as a test.
James is so profound, and yes easy to understand, but also difficult to implement! Like what you said about verse 6, I often feel stuck between the spiritual and more fleshly side of things.
This is a fun idea! Thanks for hosting this :)
Ah thank you Beth for this beautiful space. I really love verse 2 & 3. It’a a very comforting reminder to keep going in the midst of challenges, trusting in Gods plan 🤍
Wow! what a great encouragement that James gives us. I love verses 2-4 – 2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Everyone goes through trials and James reminds us that it’s actually a blessing. Sometimes we can focus only on the negatives – and sure, it’s tough. but as James says, its an opportunity for great joy. We should change our attitudes toward our suffering and we can choose joy. This is when we grow in our faith and grow in our relationship with Jesus, after all if everything was going smoothly all the time, we wouldn’t need God. Jesus gives us the strength to endure our challenges, he doesn’t just take them away instantaneously all the time. I’m reminded of the saying, ‘there is no testimony without a test’. Everyone loves a good testimony – like the story of Esther or Job, but oh boy they faced some tests to get there. But they spent so much time in the arms of Jesus where they found comfort amidst their challenges. We can do that too! Jesus is so kind and so faithful.
I hope this passage of scripture encourages everyone to keep going in the face of a challenge! <3