James DAY 1 - Does This Thing Work?

James 1:1-4

The tech giant, Apple, recently announced their next iPhone. The headline grabber: they’re ditching their old charging system to the more widely used charging system. Apparently, consumers like you and me are tired of having incompatible ways of charging our devices. The old way just wasn’t working.

We want stuff that works! We want tech that works, we want government that works, we want relationships that work - we even want faith that works.

Faith that works makes a difference in our lives. It makes a difference to the world around us. It’s practical.

James the Apostle obsessed over faith that works. His short letter in the Bible is perfect for practical people like us. It’s like a New Testament Book of Proverbs.

Right away, we see that James isn’t fooling around. He goes right after an attitude - an idea - that poisons faith that works: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

James challenges the popular assumption that faith only works when life is easy.

Let’s mark a few things real quick. First, James is talking to Christians - “my brothers and sisters.” Everything he says assumes a commitment to Jesus Christ and participation in the Christian community called “Church.”

Second, James uses a combination of deeply connected words in chapter one: trial, testing, and temptation. In fact, “trial” and “tempt” are the exact same Greek word. You only know what they mean by their context. “Trial” means you’re being tested. “Temptation” is feeling the pull to sin. All temptations are trials because the quality of your character is being put to the test, but not all trials are temptations.

Under all these words - trial, test, temptation - is the idea of being under pressure. This is the starting point for a faith that works: we cannot escape the intense pressures of life. Stay with us this week and you’ll see why this is actually good news!

What is something that frustrated you because it didn’t work as planned?

Lord Jesus Christ, I’m your servant. I’m committed to your Way. My mind and my heart are wide open to you as we start this journey through James. Help me to have a faith that works. Amen.
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