Just do it

James might just be my favorite book of the Bible. So, I am excited to delve into Chapter 1 with you.

First, I love that we are reminded to be joyful as we face and endure trials. While it is often difficult to assume this attitude during the trial, we all appreciate the maturity of faith and gift of grace as a result of the experience. Knowing that the endurance of a variety of trials will increase my spiritual stamina and develop my moral character has to change my attitude and approach to any challenges that might come my way. Let me share a thought from The Expositor's Bible Commentary on verse 12: "the word dokimos, which indicates that the man 'has stood the test', was used to describe the successful testing of precious metals and coins. It referred to the process of testing and also to the consequent approval of the tested object as genuine." I love that picture--that God would watch my process and deem me, my Walk and my Faith, as genuine. How I long to please the Lord in that way!

It is interesting to me that James points out in the next few verses that temptation does not come from God, nor does it come from outside sources. Rather it comes from “his own evil desire.” Of course Satan tempts us, but sometimes we spend more time placing blame then recognizing that which is within us and giving it up to God. I think this section can be summed up by a Casting Crown song entitled “Slow Fade”; I recommend searching it on itunes and giving it a listen—let me entice you with this one line “Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid…”

I think verses 19-27 could be summed up by quoting Nike…“just do it”. Several times in my life I have had the privilege of learning sign language. I love this language and seem to pick it up rather quickly. However, my “learning phase” has rarely been coupled with a “practical phase”; in other words, I am taught how to position my hands and fingers in certain ways to make specific words for communication, but I never have anyone to actually sign to. The result? After a few months, I’ve forgotten most of it again and am reduced to being able to tell you my name and to “stop” or “wait”—helpful with 2 year olds and that’s about it! The same goes for our studies of God’s Word. We must listen and read then obey, experience and DO.

Reflect on all we have read in the N.T. together this year. Are you putting it into practice? What have you changed in your life as a result? How has your Christ-like love manifested itself lately?


  1. As a young Christian, I believed that my faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ was enough to expect He would not allow anything bad to happen to me. Should anything bad happen to me, it was because my focus had left the Lord. I was so wrong. It is His love and grace that allows me to experience these trials so that I may love Him more and appreciate those perfect gifts from above.

    The book of James has been extremely important in my continued maturation as a Christian. This book challenges me regularly, down to each minute of my day, to be more like Christ in my interaction with others.

    Taking joy in our trials seems to be counterintuitive to our culture. These trials define our faith and belief, and thus strengthen the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are so many times that we take great sorrow in our challenges and this sorrow takes our eyes off of the Lord’s path for us and places them on the distractions of the world. I liken this teaching with a parent teaching a child to ride a bike. Should the parent not teach this child for fear of the potential injuries that may occur? No, the parent teaches the child with love for the greater joy that will be experienced in riding the bike. The parents place a hand on the back of the child to physically support and emotionally encourage the child, just as the Great Father places his hand lovingly on our backs as we stumble and fall. While the short term pains of falling off the bike may seem so real and large, they are only temporary and shall heal. With the promise of everlasting life through our God, how temporary are even the greatest pains we may experience on this earth.

    “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger” from James 1:19 is a teaching that I struggle with in my work and family life. I allow pride to influence my outward responses and I pray the statement in James 1:19 to help me in squelching my pride in order to listen more, speak less and be more tolerant.

  2. What a great illustration--thanks Shad!

  3. That was great, Shad! Great to hear from you.
    I'm still hanging out at prison and the hospital and I love it.