faith

Faith Lives Out God's Word

The Christian's devotion and obedience to God should be wholehearted, whereas the ‘double-minded’ (1:8) are half-hearted in their relationship to God. Whereas the half-hearted doubt, vacillate, are unstable and restless (1:6–8), the wholehearted are stable and free from doubt because they are wholly devoted to God. This wholehearted devotion to God involves the whole person, since the heart is the inner source of words and deeds and reveals the state of the heart. Therefore, if we are to become "perfect and complete" (1:4) we must examine every area of our lives. James explains that when the true believer is confronted with the truth of Scripture, he or she will respond by conforming to what it teaches. 

First Comes Desire, Then Comes Deceit

James continues with a clear distinction between trials and temptations, knowing that when life gets hard is when we are most often lured away and tempted. How do we fight this temptation? How do we examine our own desires and find a better answer to them? Is the Christian life a continual suppression of our desires, much like stoicism? Or do we just give in to desires because we have grace in Christ? The book of James shows us there is a third way, a better way, a righteous way that fills our desires far more than any other thing can.

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When Our Faith Is Tested

When trials come, when you experience suffering, when life doesn't look like you hoped, what is your usual response? Is it joy and thankfulness? Shockingly, that's how James writes we should respond. How can we count it all joy when we meet trials of all kinds? These first four verses of James give away the theme of the entire letter - that God desires to use all we go through in life to complete and whole perfection, that we would lack in nothing, for His glory!

Faith Walks in Wisdom

James makes it abundantly clear that, no matter who you are, you're going to face trials of many kinds. Left to ourselves, we are tossed about like a wave on the sea — directionless and without purpose — and our faith quickly wilts like grass under a scorching sun. Why do trials overwhelm us? Because we lack wisdom and we lack faith. That's why we need wisdom that comes from God; wisdom that compels us to see trials from God's perspective. And this wisdom must involve sustaining faith that involves complete abandonment to God and His purpose for our trials. We learn that in order to become a people "perfect and complete" (1:4) we must be wholehearted and single-minded in our devotion to God, not "double-minded" and divided in our loyalty.