Do you read the book of James often? We started reading James this week in the assigned lectionary. The prescribed reading this week takes us through Chapter 1 and the first part of Chapter 2.
The Orthodox Study Bible says that the major theme of James is “the harmony of faith and works.” I love that word harmony. I crave it right now in my life and I really like the idea of “the harmony of faith and works”.
We need to be proactive in our faith. The OSB continues to say, “The letter has many direct parallels with the Sermon on the Mount. James does not teach we are saved by works, but he does teach that a dead faith, one without works, does not save.” And a few sentences later, “James is clear: the human will is not bypassed in salvation; grace does not nullify personal responsibility.”
Let me share some portions that were impressed upon my heart to ponder.
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.James 1:2-4
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. 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.James 1:16-20
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.James 1:22-24
- Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.
- Do not be deceived, every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights.
- Be doers of the word.
These things I need to remember.
The OSB commentary for verse 2 says, “Trials, the world’s oppression, take place by Go’s permission. The issue is not trials but our response to them. Properly received, trials reveal where our hearts are. They are food for faith, which must grow or die. The godly reaction to trials is joy and perseverance (Mt. 5:11, 12; Acts 5:41; Rom. 5:2,3; 8:18; Heb 12:11; 1Pt 2:19). Though unkind circumstances are from the evil one, to get angry at circumstances is to get angry at God, who permits them.”
In June of 2018 I did a post called Joy Even in Trials. Going back and reading it now was a very good reminder. There is a story there told by Metropolitan Tikhon. I’m sure you’ll enjoy that story, it’s quite moving.
Count it all joy!
The good, the bad and the ugly.
Have a blessed weekend, my friends.