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James 1

The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:

James was Jesus’ half-brother (Gal 1:19) and here wrote to Jewish Christians who lived outside of Palestine (Jam 1:1). His letter focuses far more on how Christians should live than on what they believe. Both are essential. If the readers did have true, genuine, living faith, then that faith must and will be seen in everyday, practical life (2:17, 2). This is what James wrote about!

True believers respond to trials with praise (vv. 2-3), perseverance (v. 4), and prayer (vv. 5-8). They recognize the brevity of life and so do not put stock in externals but in the Lord’s promises (vv. 9-12).

In verses 12-18 James addresses when Christians are tempted to sin. Temptation is an allurement to sin arising from one’s sin nature. True faith endures rather than yields to temptation, not blaming God for being in an unavoidable circumstance.

Genuine, living faith is proven by how one responds to Scripture (vv. 19-27). A living faith eagerly accepts Scripture, exerts effort to learn and be transformed by it, and faithfully obeys it by loving needy Christians and living in holiness in the world (vv. 19, 21-22, 25-27). In contrast, a false faith merely hears and does not obey, being controlled by anger and sin, thus deceiving oneself by thinking they’re okay and don’t need to change.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Trials will come. It is part of living in a sin-cursed world. The issue here isn’t if or even when trials will come but how, Christian, will you respond to them? Will you stop following Christ because you think that will make your life easier? Note where your focus is then: on yourself! Look to Christ, trust in him, live by faith, not sight!
  2. Christian, you still have a sin nature and live in a Satan-controlled, sinful world. You will be tempted to sin! Don’t blame God and thus make yourself out to be a victim. Resist temptation, trusting the Lord for strength to do so (Matt 26:41; 1 Cor 10:13).
  3. Scripture is God’s tool showing you what you’re like now and who you should be like, the Lord Jesus Christ. When God shows you this, don’t get angry, be humble, grateful, devoted, and obedient.
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