James is a very interesting book because it’s a hodgepodge of different pieces of advice, bits of encouragement and valuable words. The book is more segmented than a lot of the books in the Bible. There are really no stories or allegories but the information shared is so practical, simple, and kindly, yet bluntly stated. That’s why it’s my very favorite book of the Bible. Although the concepts don't necessarily flow together, they’re very useful individually, as well as together. To get a deeper understanding of each topic, take out your Bible and read along.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” [1:2-4]
James begins by encouraging us, his fellow brothers in Christ, and acknowledges that we’ll indeed have trials and temptations.
As humans in a sinful world, trials and temptations come with the territory. Every evil thought and desire doesn’t come from God but every perfect or good gift comes from God. God can’t be tempted by evil, so why is He who we blame for the consequences of our sin and desire instead of faithfully loving and serving Him through the trials?
We desire. We begin to plot and plan, maybe unintentionally or not, and finally, if we do not resist the temptation, give into that desire, causing sin.
It’s human tendency to desire something sinful, but if a love for God is present and a prayer for strength and wisdom is uttered, the pull from the heart to temptation may be resisted because we’ll be more focused on pleasing God than ourselves.
James describes a man who endures temptation as a man who chooses to seek and please God—a man who loves Him [v. 12]. We’re encouraged that worry, doubt, and fear can be replaced with endurance and positivity through our faith.
When we ask for God’s perfect gift-whether it be peace, patience, resistance or focus-we’re better equipped to withstand our natural sinful desires. Our faith is tested so that we may withstand even greater trials, so later we can withstand even greater trials.
God has granted us the freedom to ask for wisdom and He will freely give wisdom to those who have the faith and don’t doubt [v. 6].
Therefore, in order to walk humbly, we must put away our sinful ways. We must walk with marred footsteps covered by the strength, wisdom and faith that God instills in us.
These are qualities God provides us, but verses 19 and 20 conclude it best: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Kasondra Reel is a senior studying nursing.