James 1:1–18 (ESV)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Testing of Your Faith
it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may
be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all
without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person
must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers
the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by
God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived
gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every
good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be
a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James writes to struggling Christians who are facing many trials and temptations. Those who face such challenges may be tossed about (vv
5–8) and eventually destroyed by sin (v 15). Those who seek God’s wisdom endure trials (vv 2–4) and become stronger. In Baptism, God gives His struggling children the crown of life not because of their strength but because of His grace. In
that grace, we can follow Him and live confidently in this world of struggles and uncertainty.
I pray: O Lord, deliver me from my struggles, and grant me the gifts that
come from You alone. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who has given me new life. Lead me in Your wisdom until I am raised to receive the crown of life. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht,
The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009),