James 1, 1-4
Something to read
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
Some kinds of hardships and difficulties make us stronger. It’s like going to the gym – it’s hard work but it builds us up. I had to walk a mile to school every day as a child; sometimes I used to resent it but I am quite healthy today perhaps as a result. Whether we choose these experiences or not, they develop perseverance and strength of character.
But other kinds of hardships can break people – the kind of unmanageable difficulties that swamp people’s lives and make them poorer and weaker as a result. This is a different experience altogether, and they need our help. Helping them is often hard for us; but the difficulties for us in doing it are ‘good’ difficulties – not the crushing difficulties that people in many parts of the world face. God invites us to accept them as disciplines that make us more ‘mature and complete’ – more like Jesus, growing into the full stature of Christ.
Something to do
Find things today that will build up your perseverance. Instead of taking the lift, take the stairs. Instead of the bus or the car, walk or cycle. Instead of using the SatNav, get out a map. Offer these things to God as your willingness to face trials with joy, to build up your strength and your perseverance to make sacrifices for the sake of those whose trials are unbearable.
Something to pray
Lord, I offer you my discomfort. Use it to bring comfort and hope to those whose lives are being tested beyond their limits. And help me not just to endure, but to find joy in following in the footsteps of the Christ who suffered.
Today's contributor is JUST LIVING, a fresh expression of church in Devon devoted to the Christian pursuit of justice for the poor and closely linked to Christian Aid.