Living out our faith in the crucible of life – a sermon on James 1 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.
So far 2020 has been a year of challenges, hasn’t it! Some said that this year we just had three months – January, February and Covid. And that third month has been one drawn out challenge – for the country as a whole but also for us as God’s people. For some time we were not able to meet at all and we had to make a number of changes to how we do things. Then we could start meeting again but only in reduced numbers – and that’s still where we’re at, even with the new measures coming into play this coming week. We’ve had to suspend many of our activities. And if we look at our work lives, they’ve changed too in many ways – reduced hours, changed work environments, and working from home, to name just a few. For those who live on super payments, there’s also been reductions in income. Some have had to cancel their holidays because you couldn’t really go anywhere, especially down South. These sorts of things have played on our minds a lot, in a sense they’ve been trials that we’ve had to face. Of course they’re nothing like the trials that the original hearers of the letter of James would’ve been subject to, but they’ve nevertheless impacted on all of us.
In his letter, James, the half-brother of Jesus and the leader of the church in Jerusalem, writes to the believers scattered across a wide area. These scatterlings would’ve been subject to persecution, discrimination, adversity of many kinds – even death. James writes to these scatterlings to teach them how to live out their faith in the crucible of daily life, and as part of that teaching he also encourages them as they face their trials. And friends, the teaching of James is just as applicable to us today – and it is just as encouraging.
We’ve read the first 18 verses, but we’re going to focus on verses 2-4 this morning. In these verses James firstly speaks of joy in the midst of trials, then he reminds his readers of the perseverance or steadfastness that the testing of faith produces and lastly he speaks about maturity.
- steadfastness; and
 Acts 12:17.