The book of James is often referred to as the Proverbs of the New Testament. It’s a book of pithy teaching for practical application. Today’s society is awash with information. On average we spend 3.9 years looking at a phone screen. There’s information and news everywhere. And there is a danger of us becoming a nation of passive information consumers. James warns us not to let that attitude characterise our Christian life or our reading of the Word. We are to be actively applying God’s precepts.
‘Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says,’ (v.22)
We are called to live morally upright lives, to be careful how we speak, to be patient people, to look after orphans and widows and to love our neighbours like we love ourselves. We are to pursue maturity. James encourages us constantly to have an eternal perspective. Even trials then become instruments that develop Godly characteristics in us and enable us to fulfil all that God has purposed for us.
What a great way to look at life! Instead of moaning and groaning about our difficulties, we welcome them as positives which have the potential to transform us and make us more like Jesus as we exercise our faith muscles. Instead of reflecting the constant ‘whys?’ of our society when faced with tragedy, as Christians we never see adversity as hopeless or meaningless but are always believing for a higher purpose and plan to be brought from it.
Because this perspective is so counter-culture James urges us to be diligent and persevering as we hold to it:
In asking for wisdom – we must believe and not doubt
We must persevere under trial
We must look intently into God’s law and continue to do this…
It is the diligent application that makes us active participants in bringing God’s Kingdom to earth rather than the passive spectators who hear, rather than make the news!
Prayer: Dear Father, Help us to read your word and apply it diligently. Today, as we look at the challenges we face, we rejoice. We know that you will develop perseverance in us as we walk through them and that will make us more mature. We ask you for wisdom to deal with each difficulty and we believe that you will give it to us. Thank you so much, wonderful Father. In Jesus Name, Amen.