This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings! Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind 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. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Dear God, it’s interesting that James geared the messages of this letter specifically to Jewish people who were now believers in Jesus. Was there something specifically about the Jewish faith that discounted the need for works? Anyway, I never noticed this before.
What would a modern prophet speaking on your behalf have to say to the American church (Catholic, mainline, or evangelical)? Lately, the feeling I’ve been getting is that our sin is grasping for political and cultural power. There was simply never a time when Jesus seemed to care about who the government or political leaders were. In fact, the only people who ever seemed to earn his ire were religious leaders and those who were hypocritical in their judgment of others. Yes, I’m convinced you would have a lot to say to American Christians of all stripes right now. We have sinned. I have sinned.
One of my sins is really paying as much attention as I do to politics and not thinking more about the immediate needs around me. Really, is there anything going on in the political leadership of our nation or state that warrants more than 5 minutes of my time a week?
Father, help me to focus on the right things. Help me to focus more on my sphere of influence than I focus on things that are outside of my control but easily distract me. In fact, this puts a new spin on the serenity prayer. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (politics) the courage to change the things I can (my sphere of influence) and the wisdom to know the difference.
In Jesus’s name I pray,