Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
“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. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”
Nobody likes going through difficult times in life, but James writes that we are blessed when we persevere and do not succumb to the temptations to do what is not good or right. In the face of fear and anxiety, we are easily tempted to try to control everything and everyone around us. Our pain and lack of faith in God’s goodness and love manifests itself in anger and animosity. We lash out at the people who love us and who we love the most. But God, the “Father of the heavenly lights”, is calling out of darkness into the light of faith and hope. Today, ask God to give you the “good and perfect gift” of strength and perseverance to fight against the temptations you face and live with love, grace, and mercy in your relationships with others.