Learning lessons from Jesus’s half-brother, James

James, the brother of Jesus, is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He just tells it like it is.

During the next few weeks, we’ll see what James says it looks like to be a truly dedicated follower of Jesus Christ.

You should know that James wasn’t just a follower or a disciple of Jesus Christ. He was actually his biological half-brother. James was not a part of the original 12 disciples.

James didn’t actually become a follower until after Jesus appeared to him, in person, after the resurrection. But after the resurrection, he not only became a follower, he also became a leader in the early church.

The book of James begins with just one line of greeting and then he jumps right in. He says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James bypasses all of the niceties, and he admits that life is hard.

We are going to face trials and temptations. We are going to face hardship. We might as well admit it so that we can talk about it. Depending on which Bible translation you use, the word trial may also be translated temptation, trouble or testing.

Whatever the case, James is letting us know that God is somehow able to use these things to bring about something good and develop maturity in our lives. It is all in how you respond to the things that life brings your way.

James helps us understand that instead of complaining about our struggles, we should learn to see them as opportunities for growth. We can thank God for promising to be with us in the rough times. He is basically telling us that when we face trials and difficulties in life, we can choose to rejoice.

Why would he suggest such a thing? “Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:3-4)

James is basically saying that in the midst of all that seems bad, God is up to something good. We don’t rejoice because of the trial. We rejoice because we know, in the midst of the trial, God is at work.

That takes faith. It is easier said than done. But in the face of our trials, temptations, troubles and testing, we can choose to rejoice because we have faith to believe God is at work and He can be trusted.

James has much more to tell us. Until next time.

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.