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  • Chad Werkhoven

James 1:12-18 - Look Up

Theology isn't just a trivial pursuit, it's the key to gaining the crown of life!



James 1:12–18 (NIV)

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.


Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 1


We all believe in our hearts

and confess with our mouths

that there is a single

and simple spiritual being,

whom we call God—


eternal,

incomprehensible,

invisible,

unchangeable,

infinite,

almighty;


completely wise,

just,

and good,

and the overflowing source of all good.

 

Summary

James is a favorite book for many Christians since it gives such good and practical advice that applies to everyday situations. But today's passage illustrates that even the most practical advice is rooted deeply in theology.


James begins here by reminding you to keep your eye on the prize: "the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him (v12)." This crown will come to those who have "persevered under trial," and who've "stood the test."


This perseverance is not just a matter of brute force or mental/spiritual toughness. It comes from a recognition of theological reality: knowing that the temptations enticing you do not come from God, rather that they're the product of your "own evil desire (v14)."


Last week we were reminded of God's simplicity, in that God defines not just Himself, but the attributes that describe Him. He's not just good, rather He defines the very concept of goodness! James reinforces this doctrine, writing that "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights (v17)." In other words, as our Confession puts it, "God is the overflowing source of all good." Every bit of goodness in this world - even the good things done by otherwise evil people - has its source in God our Father!


Furthermore, you can count on what James wrote two millennia ago being just as true today because of another theological truth James reminds us of: our Father "does not change like the shifting shadows." Since God remains the same "yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8)," you can always count on God's overflowing goodness.



Dig Deeper


We sort of wandered away from the idea that James began this passage with, that you and I must "persevere under trial (v12)," but that's sort of what James intended! Since sin comes when you "are dragged away by your own evil desires," it makes sense that the more you focus on solid theology (knowing who and what God is), the less you'll be distracted by the enticing temptations of the world. Theology isn't just a trivial pursuit, it's the key to gaining the crown of life!


This is James' point here: Every good and perfect gift originates with God, so by investing yourself fully in knowing Him, you're surrounding yourself with good things rather than enticing temptation.


The best way for you to do this is by continually digging deeper into "the word of truth, that you might be a kind of firstfruits of all God created (v18)."



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, the giver of every good and perfect gift, who does not change;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for "choosing to give birth to you through the word of truth, and pray that you would pursue it, and not the enticing temptations of the world;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Mark 9

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