A few years ago, I was challenged by a pastor to memorize James 1 and I did it. This was a really great exercise and, while I no longer have the whole thing committed to memory, certain verses are emblazoned into my mind. While studying Proverbs, I kept thinking about the book of James.
There are so many common themes, I want to dive into a few of them with you today!
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 (ESV)
Throughout Proverbs, the writers discuss how our hearts are weighed by the Lord and tested through the fires of circumstances. These aren’t happy or joyful experiences—most of the time they’re incredibly difficult moments—but James encourages us to have joy. The refining fire isn’t ever fun, but the results of the fire, the precious gold within each of us that emerges, is worth it.
How do you view testing? What do you think of the refining fire?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5 (ESV)
Obviously Proverbs contains great wisdom, it was primarily written by a man who asked God for wisdom and received what he asked for and much, much more. The book of James reiterates this fact, reminding us that God gives wisdom liberally to all who ask for it. The Lord blesses and honors our pursuit of wisdom. He celebrates when we seek his face; he isn’t annoyed when we acknowledge our lack.
Both James and Proverbs make it clear that we simply need to ask God, have you taken him up on that offer?
Goodness of God
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 (ESV)
Every book of the Bible points to the goodness of God and fits perfectly within his love letter to humanity. Proverbs and James are no different. Throughout Proverbs, the reader is invited to draw nearer to God and his unconditional love. We are instructed to guard our heart, mind, and soul and pursue wisdom because that’s who God is. Wisdom is painted as generous and kind and loving. Wisdom throws exquisite banquets for others and always leads people in the path of life. God is the supplier of the good things in our lives and doesn’t long for us to lack any good thing.
Do you see the goodness of God in your life? Do you believe he has your best intentions at heart?
If you want to grow in wisdom, as I do, I encourage you to read through Proverbs and James regularly; you might be surprised at what you find!
I’m amazed at the fact that these two men, though many years and miles apart, wrote so similarly. It’s a sweet reminder that God’s character, voice, and desires are consistent and aren’t subject to change. The same good God who loved and pursued people in the Bible is the same one who’s lovingly seeking us out. May we have the wisdom to turn and embrace him today.
To go Deeper: Check out A Proverb A Day.
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