God, here we go starting a new study of your word. These are YOUR WORDS. Please speak to me as I read. Open my eyes. Soften my heart. I need you, God, and I want to know you more.
1:1-4 From James, a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. Greetings!
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.
What are your first thoughts as you read these verses? Write them down!
What is James saying, in your own words?
Digging below the surface
What do you see about God and what he values?
Would you call this passage a promise, a call to action, words of wisdom? What do you see in it?
From our discussion of the background of the book, how would this opening have encouraged the first people who read it? How does it encourage you?
Making it stick
Based on what you’ve seen through reading and asking these questions, is God showing you any of your actions or attitudes that don’t line up with his word?
What are you going to do about it?
Trials often surprise me. Like, where did THAT come from? Why me? Whaaat?? The first thing that hits me as I read this passage is the little word “when.” It doesn’t say “IF you fall into trials,” but “WHEN you fall into trials.” I find both comfort and a challenge in this. Everyone goes through hard things. I’m not alone and that comforts me. But the same thought strikes me – I’m not the only one struggling, so I should lift my eyes off of myself and see the bigger picture.
God has a purpose for the trials he allows into our lives. Knowing this should motivate me to shift my attitude. God must value the endurance and the completion that these trials produce in me. Do I? Can I decide ahead of time that the next time something is hard, I’m going to choose joy and not complaining?
Lord, you must really want me to be perfect and complete, and not deficient in anything, to be willing to allow challenges into my life like you do. I really want to trust you in the tough stuff. Will you help me prepare to accept trials when they come? Will you remind me that the testing of my faith is a good thing? You are good and you’re doing a good work in me. Thank you! Amen.