Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. – James 1:2-3
James, the half brother of Jesus, wrote this to the Jewish Christians who had been dispersed across the continent within 20 years of Jesus’ resurrection, due to intense persecution. He knew that these Christian converts were integrating into new communities and while they would say they had faith, their lives did not reflect the faith they proclaimed. His letter encourages them to understand that living their faith must result in action even when action brings trials.
The short New Testament book of James is jam-packed with practical thoughts for Christian living that are just as true and useful today as in his generation. As a person who knew Jesus from his childhood, perhaps as the father figure and later as Teacher and Savior, no one was more reliable as witness to the revelation of Christ and the intentions of His teachings – than James. He is clear to share that the Christian life is not for cowards, but is worth the risks.