Sunday, January 24, we will begin a new sermon series on the letter of James. James was the first book of the Bible I undertook as a church pastor, and I am excited to return to it after eighteen years.
James begins his letter with “consider it all joy when you face various trials.” That’s a hard sell, and it sounds a little crazy. James doesn’t mean that we are love trials for the sake of the trials, nor does he say that we have to call bad things good. Rather, he is saying that we need not fear them. For those remain steadfast, trials work to strengthen our faith. Having a strong faith is worth what it costs because faith is not about the strength of the individual but rather it is all about the strength of faith’s object. God Almighty is well-worth our faith. In fact James says, God is so worth our faith and is so deserving of our trust, that we can welcome trials because we know that the trials we face are not stronger than God.
Living by faith is something I don’t think we know how to do well. For many, faith is the add-on to all the things we trust and have collected in order to increase the odds of a blessed life. Faith in God becomes a component of our life, not the foundation of our life.
Take some time the next few days and read James’ letter. As you read James, ask yourself, What is James saying about faith? What is James exposing as a false object of faith? How are those whom James is confronting seeking to live apart from faith? And how is James calling me to live by faith?