The Book of James has been called “The Proverbs of the New Testament”. I read a chapter in James along with my daily reading of Proverbs.
Over the next several days I will be posting a daily devotional blog from my study in the Book of James. We will spend two or three days (maybe more in some cases) in each chapter – so it may take us a few weeks to get through it. These posts will also be used for episodes of the Contend Podcast in the near future. I pray that this series will be a help and encouragement to you.
A Salutation, A Situation, and A Solution (1:1-12)
James, as the author of this book, offers his greetings “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.” This “folksy” greeting is quickly followed by something that is far less intriguing. He tells the reader to be happy when they fall into temptation. To us, temptation is a bad thing (which is true), but remember: the fact that you are tempted is not sin – it’s the yielding to temptation that is sin. Christ Himself was tempted in Matthew 4.
James is quick to offer his reason for rejoicing in the midst of temptation. He points out that “the trying of your faith worketh patience.” He continues in stating that patience’s work is what helps us become entire and complete.
After he establishes the importance of patience, he quickly pivots to something we see in perfect conjunction with Solomon in the Book of Proverbs – wisdom. I find it extremely interesting to note that God says that, if we lack wisdom, the way to get it is to simply ask! What a thought: that all we need to do to be wise is to ask God for wisdom. James tells us something very important about asking in the next verse. He tells us that we must “ask in faith”
Faith in the Christian life is as equally important as wisdom, for it is faith that unlocks the door to wisdom. James continues with an important fact about wavering as he tells that someone who wavers will not receive the things that he asks for and also that he is “unstable in all his ways”.
As he wraps up this opening section of chapter 1, James leaves the reader with a great thought. He states, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” It’s wonderful to think that if we follow the prescription in the earlier verses – accept temptation, let our patience be worked, ask for wisdom, and have faith – then we will be able to “pass the test” so to speak and also receive a crown from the Lord.