The book of James can be called, ‘the Proverbs of the New Testament,’ as throughout this book we receive much of God’s wisdom to help us succeed in this world
Believers of Christ in the time of James were mostly very poor. Because the country was governed by Rome and people had to obey the Roman emperor to survive. However, the believers of Christ did not choose to. So, they had many difficulties and had put up with hardship. This, however, had made them strong. Despite their poverty, they were joyful and learned how to survive.
The bible says that believers of God are to be joyful when they are persecuted. Jesus says in John 16:33, “in this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.” Christians were called disciples in the early ages. Disciple comes from the Greek word, μαθητὰς (Mathetas). It is no surprise therefore that the English word martyr comes from this word. A martyr is a person, who gives all of his or her life to the Lord. We know that the early believers of Christ were persecuted and killed, but they had a strong belief that God would be with them and care for them. We need the same attitude as Christians today.
What is the purpose of our being tested? Why does God allow his people to face such difficulties? We will read James 1:3, “the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” Testing helps us grow stronger and develop our perseverance. Test comes from the Greek word, δοκίμιον(dokimion). Our tests at schools are governed by teachers, but the test for believers is governed by God. God allows us to struggle to make sure if we have a genuine faith in God or not.
As a believer of Christ, we need to persevere and endure. What does persevere mean? It is ὑπομονήν(hypomonḗ) in Greek. It means “overcoming troubles and hardships in order to accomplish a purpose.” When trials and testing come upon us, we need perseverance to accomplish God’s purpose.
We learn many things through our testing. And, we need to endure this, because God has a purpose. We need to fulfill this purpose with the help of God. Do not be discouraged. Do not give up. Because our God is still here with us. He will help us to overcome.
God has his purpose for each one of us. And he allows us to endure sufferings. James 1:4 says, “Perseverance must finish its work. You may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” God wants us to finish his work, so we may become mature and complete.
Living in this world, we will experience all kinds of trials, testing, sufferings and hardships. When these come upon us, we are told that we are to come to God for his help. Through perseverance, we will become mature and complete. We are to be joyful in this process to accomplish the work of God. Our God is here with us. They are people, who will help us to succeed in this world.
As we consider the wisdom of God, how can we get it?
God allows believers of Christ to endure suffering. How has this occurred in your life?
Rev Dr Je Cheol Cook