“These are the times that try men’s souls”. So wrote Thomas Paine on December 23, 1776. His words were written in the very early, very difficult first year of the American Revolutionary War. His essay “The Crisis” was published to encourage the fledging republic and its citizens to rise to the occasion and seize the opportunities before them. Paine, one of the founders of this New Nation, called the colonies to add works to their ideology (their beliefs).
In 49 AD the Early Church had suffered some very difficult times. The persecution from the religious and government leaders of the day had scattered the Mother Church which was in Jerusalem. One of the Church’s early founders, James, the pastor of the Jerusalem Church, wrote to his scattered flock. He pens for them an important little epistle. As you read it you can almost hear him saying “These are the times that try men’s faith”. Throughout this letter he will challenge these first-generation Christians to have a faith that works. In essence, to add works to their beliefs (their ideology).
In the winter of 2022, we are in the middle of some very difficult times both in our world and in our nation. The Lord’s Church has not been spared from this difficult season. In last 22 months I have seen, without a doubt, the hardest times of my lifetime. In times like these I am wise to turn to the Scriptures for hope and encouragement. I am wise as well to focus on the Bible book of James. It has a lot to say about the practice of our faith, about having a faith that works even when times are tough.
Truly these are the times that try a person’s faith. Join me this January – March as we discover how our Faith Works in such a time as this. I am confidant you will be glad you did.