Introduce James-letter written by the apostle James. There are a few James' mentioned in the Bible. Two primary one are James-son of Zebedee,who along with his brother, John, -who Jesus referred to as the "sons of thunder"- were among the first disciples called by Jesus, and James, Jesus' brother. This James became a leader of the church in Jerusalem and is thought to be the author of this letter.
This letter was written to Christian Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire to address a number of issues the churches of the time were dealing with and to encourage the people to grow in their faith.
James 1:1-3 - testing
Reminds me of testing in school-dread, anxiety....reasons for that. We expect tests to reveal our shortcomings.
James says to take joy? How do you do that with something so stressful?
Takes understanding God's purpose and changing our expectations. This is what James is after
We often focus on the negative, but God sees the positive.
So what is God's perspective?
James says testing produces perseverence.
- makes us stonger-like working out. Build spiritual muscle.
- encourages us-shows us how far we've come. God not trying to trip us up
- guides us - shows us what we still need to work on.
- not about the grade we get-pass/fail. But about gauging where we are. keep that in mind.
Testing is necessary to show our faith
*What good is it to have something you never use?
- Ask for patience...how ar eyou going to use it? Needs to be tested.
- James on wisdom
God allows trials for all these reasons...he does not cause them but allows them to happen to us.
- 1 Co 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
*God's perspective is that you can handle these things if you depend upon Him.You are ready for the trials you are facing....as long as you are depending upon Him.
*Job: Job 1:8
Disciples have always needed to change perspective to understand God's plans better-road to Emmaeus.
Look at new perspective...Consider the trials God places before you with pure joy. Know that God if for you and is doing a good work in you. Persevering in faith will make you stronger and more mature. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus in all situations and learn to face trials of life knowing that God is preparing us for greatness.