"Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger....and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you." Jas 1:19, 22
James warns his readers that the Gospel life is difficult and will be full of trials. More important, he cautions everyone who yearns to live the Gospel fully not to overact but to respond by listening more intently, speaking less and avoiding anger, none of which is easy, but all of which is made possible by Jesus.
It is important to remember how challenged the first Christians were, especially after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Broken by the loss of the symbol that meant so much to them, the Jewish community insisted that those who followed the "Way" of the prophet Jesus let go of their faith if they wanted to be included among faithful Jews. This trial broke many Christians, but more stayed, accepted their unclean state as Jews and left Jerusalem to announce the message of Jesus all over the known world.
Trials like those faced by the first Christians may not come to us, but the challenge of living in a society so obsessed with material success, wealth and independence are formidable. Believers must try to live a counter cultural life committed to the common good and focused on strengthening the body of Christ when most in our society choose personal triumphs over building God's Kingdom.
Today, pray for anyone you know undergoing a difficult trial.
What or who has helped you endure the challenges to your faith?