Daily Devotion in James 1
James, who some believe to be the brother of Jesus, gives practical advice in this writing. One of the most helpful and oft-experienced situations for all people, including believers, is discussed here. The “good” side of going through difficulties is examined in James 1:2-6.
Here James identifies the difficulties, trials, and enticements all face as “divers temptations.” Although most initially shudder at even the thought of going through different problems, James exposes what can positively be gained by going through our individual “valleys.” Instead of agreeing how terrible it is to have problems, James encourages Christians to “… count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;” (James 1:2).
How could anyone be joyful when facing joblessness, heartaches, financial problems, family problems, or the thousands of difficulties we all face in our lifetime? James tells us we can be “joyful” because:
- The trying of our faith during the hard times builds our patience (James 1:3). Since there usually is not much we can do but wait until the trial passes, we learn to wait patiently and trust the Lord during those hard times.
- The practical lessons on patience we learn build a good Christian into a “tested” believer. Most of us have some person in our life that we have observed as more spiritual than ourselves. We are often amazed at how calm and patient they are when they face difficulties. They did not wake up one morning and decide to be patient for the rest of their lives. They got that way because they went through hard times, got close to God, and saw that His help sufficed to deliver and guide them. The next time they faced an unfavorable situation, they remembered all He had done in the past and did not get frazzled. Their learned patience (James 1:4) built their character and trust in the Lord.
- When we go through a “temptation,” we go to the Lord in prayer more than we ever have before. In doing so, we get closer to the Lord, see how he supplies wisdom as to how to handle our trial (James 1:5), and have the potential to have our faith increased.
Trials and tribulations are not something anyone desires to go through, but after going through many of them and drawing close to God during those times, we can learn that they are not so bad. The valley of “temptation” can be joyous, as our God guides us through the treacherous pathways.
“… for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Words to Understand:
Superfluity: more than enough; not necessary
Variableness: changeable; varied
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2 ¶ My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
12 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.
13 ¶ Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
19 ¶ Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.