Thursday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Posted on October 8, 2020 byunder
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.
St. James teaches us that our own desires lead us into temptation and death. In the beginning Eve and Adam had outside assistance from Satan, but ever since the fall our own flesh has been sufficiently able to tempt us.
Temptation must come. In the Large Catechism, concerning the Sixth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, Dr. Luther reminds us that “it cannot be otherwise.” If we are Christ’s, the devil will attack us, and our nature—corrupted with the fruit of his lies—will always be working against the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews reminded us that chastisement is a blessing for building us up in Christ, and now James is making the point that trials and testing are also a joy. False teachers lead people to think that the Church is about being comfortable, rich, and having our wishes answered by a god that loves to pander to our proud wills. The Word of God tells us clearly that the opposite is true. Life in Christ involves suffering and sacrifice. It involves being humble and submitting to His will. It involves testing and correction. It is not easy, but God also promises to give help and wisdom according to His Spirit! And by His gifts and His will, we are made to stand firm as our faith clings to Jesus Christ and His cross for our joy and prosperity in the true faith.
Prayer: 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; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.