James 1:2-3, 14 – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness…But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
Studies are recently coming out about the science of the brain and, incredibly, after 2000 years, science is finally catching up with the Bible. They say that trials happen to us, which can trigger anxiety within us, and often lead to an increase in temptation for us.
This is exactly what James is saying in the first chapter of this incredibly practical, timeless book – we often make the worst decisions under the greatest pressure. Sometimes we’re in a difficult situation and our decisions and reactions to it just make things more difficult.
Think for a moment about the trials you’re going through today, whether it be immediate or future trials. We have global, national, regional, local, and personal problems – no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, we can all agree that there’s no shortage of problems and trials. These trials today are triggering an unprecedented amount of anxiety.
The studies go on to say that there are four main types of trials – 1) Health 2) Safety 3) Politics 4) Relationships. Sound familiar? Have any of you lost a close relationship recently because of disagreements in the areas of health, safety, or politics?
Because the brain is being driven by fear, the brain scientists tell us the brain wants one of two things – information or control – which, at an excessive level as is often the case in social media, leads to more fear and anxiety. Statistically, fake news travels six times faster than the truth. Or as it was once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth puts its shoes on.”
So where do we go for joy amidst trials? If you turn to God and His Word, it’ll rejuvenate you and bring revelation to your life. You will never be disappointed by the time you spend with God or in His Word; you will most likely be disappointed in all the time you’ve spent on news apps or social media. I’d encourage you to read James once a day or a few times as week as we study it together over the next few weeks.
When you pick up your phone, are you focused on social media, apps, or news reports? Make it a habit to start your day by praying or reading a few verses from James rather than turning immediately to these sources that will cause you more anxiety than answers.