In our “Faith Works” series, the past two Sundays we have engages some great passages of Scripture. Two Sundays ago we studied James 1:2-8, 12-15 is about persevering when we face trials of many kinds. These trials, or tests are placed there so that we might become complete and whole, not lacking anything. Two key things to remember here: First, Our Father of heavenly lights desires to grow us in our love relationship with him, and we do this by trusting him more. Darrell Johnson gives us great insight into this when he writes: “Why does God test us? For one basic reason. Life with a capital ‘L’ is found only in trusting God. Do you agree? Indeed, life with a capital ‘L’ is found only in trusting God. The quality of Life is, therefore, a function of the quality of our trust. So, to make sure our trust is, in fact, in God and God alone, God puts us to the test.” In light of this, the second thing to remember is that in our trials we are not simply meant to learn something from them, but to become someone by them; growing more into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
This past week was James 1:19-27. It complements our previous passage beautifully because in direct terms it challenges us to listen to the word and do what it says. In doing this we must keep in mind that “the Word” is more expansive than just the Bible. The word is the truth about God: revealed in the OT, revealed in the life and teachings of Christ - his teaching and relationship to the Father, and revealed through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. The word has been implanted or inborn in us, and when we listen and respond to the Word, it grows and changes us and our environments for the Kingdom. As Walter Brueggemann so aptly puts it: “Scarcity can be displaced by generosity; anxiety can be displaced by confidence; greed can be displaced by sharing; brutality can be displaced by compassion and forgiveness.” Therefore let the Word do its work in you, as you listen and respond to it!
Peace and courage to you all,