Thursday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: James 1:1-15 (NKJV)
1:1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
It is clear from verses 1 and 2 that James is writing to Christian people, people who had been scattered and were suffering. These people were being tested in several ways. Testing is not the exception to the rule for Christians. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation.” God’s people have always had tribulations. James knew that. And he also knew that his readers needed to be encouraged to stay strong in the faith. He knew they couldn’t stay strong of themselves, so he told them where to find the strength they needed.
Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. In Matthew 6 and Luke 11 Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer. He taught them where to go to find needed strength. In his explanation of the Lord’s Prayer Luther does the same thing. He invites us to remember that God is our true Father and that we are His true children. He reminds us to keep God’s Name holy. He points out to us that God’s will is always best and we should desire that our will conforms to His will. He reminds us where to look for our daily needs. He promises not to lead us into temptation and to deliver us from evil. Our Father in Heaven does rescue us from every evil of body and soul. And when our last hour comes He will give us a blessed end and take us to Himself in Heaven.
In the midst of trial and tribulations God’s people can and should always look to Him for help.
We pray: Lord, we beseech Thee, grant Thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow Thee, the only God. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.