Jesus had a half-brother named James. James did not believe that Jesus was the Savior sent from God, not at first. After Jesus’ resurrection, however, James became a believer. He also became an important leader of the young Christian church in Jerusalem. As a recognized leader in the church, James wrote a letter that was inspired by God’s Spirit. That letter is part of the Bible.
James’ letter is known to us as the Book of James in our New Testament. In his letter, James writes about the struggles and challenges that Christians often experience in this life. He points out that struggles can be trials used by God to make his people grow into strong and mature Christians. In God’s hands, a trial leads to endurance and endurance leads to maturity.
James is also careful to warn God’s people that struggles can be dangerous. Struggles have the potential to become temptations. Temptation leads to disobedience and disobedience leads to death. So the struggles and challenges in our lives can either be trials that lead to triumph or they can be temptations that lead to tragedy. What makes the difference?
When faced with a struggle, a believer has a choice between two courses of action. One choice is to get discouraged and disappointed. When we are discouraged and disappointed we tend to focus on ourselves and to question God’s goodness. Selfish desires tempt us to disobey God. If we give in to those desires then temptation becomes sin and sin leads to disaster.
The other course of action is to humbly ask God for wisdom. James promises that when we ask God for wisdom and do not doubt, then God will give generously without finding fault. God’s wisdom enables us to see beyond ourselves and to trust that our Lord will turn our trials into triumphs because we love him and because his plan for us is to receive the crown of life.
Even when we are pushed and pulled by the relentless pressures of life, we can be certain that God is preparing us for a marvelous victory. James assures us that all good gift-giving, every perfect gift, is from above, from the Father of the heavenly lights. The greatest riches of this life will pass away like a wildflower, but the crown of life that God has prepared for us is glorious beyond description and forever indestructible.
So if you are struggling, ask God for his wisdom and rejoice because your trial will lead you to victory. And if you are between trials, rejoice and enjoy your success so far. Whatever your circumstance, rejoice and give thanks, because God is faithful. He is worthy of our thanksgiving!
May God’s Holy Spirit fill us with unending gratitude for his great blessings which he has prepared for us,