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Thursday, May 28, 2009 2 comments

James 1:1-8

"James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

Too often our response to trials is to complain. This response does not reflect a Christian attitude. James gives sound advice on how to respond during these times.

First, trials should be faced with an attitude of joy. Trials should not be viewed as a punishment, curse or calamity. Do not be mistaken, James is not implying to be joyful for the trial, rather be joyful in or during the trial.

In addition, there is profit from trials. Trials produce patience, which can also be translated as endurance or perseverance. Through tests a Christian will learn to withstand the pressure of a trial until God removes it at His appointed time. For example, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 talks about Paul having a thorn in his flesh. Paul longed for relief, but God would not remove the thorn as Paul requested. However, God continually supplied him with grace to endure it. There is no gain in endurance without some investment in trials.

Do not misinterpret verse 4, "perfect" does not mean sinless perfection. A better translation would be mature. Thus, if perseverance goes full-term it will develop a thoroughly mature Christian.

James' argument may seem logical, but it is still difficult to see how trials can be welcomed with an attitude of joy. Verse 5 describes the assistance God gives. Only divine wisdom enables believers to be joyous and submissive in trials and God will not only provide wisdom, but will do so generously. However, God's provision has some prerequisites. First, the believer must ask in faith and not doubt. This refers to a distrust in God. God compares someone who doubts His ability or willingness to provide wisdom to a "wave of the sea". This person is "double-minded", meaning that their mind or soul is divided between God and the world. A hypocrite, who who occasionally believes in God but fails to trust Him when trials come and thus receives nothing.

2 comments: to “ Trials so far...

  • MikeT May 29, 2009 at 10:04 AM

    Some trials really are doubt-inducing. I would imagine that being naturally inclined toward homosexuality would be an excellent example of that. You know your natural desires are wicked, you want to be good and normal, but God won't take away your homosexual tendencies or even give you the ability to suppress them enough to live a normal heterosexual lifestyle.

    I'm not saying that doubt is justified, but there are trials where fighting doubt itself becomes a trial.

  • Layneh June 3, 2009 at 9:56 AM

    Trials are difficult, no doubt. God has given us the tools we need, but I think often times we try to handle things on our own.

    This problem seems so great, as men never like to ask for help, that we need accountability partners. Constant communication about the good and bad in life with someone, can really help us along in life, especially during our trials.

    Good post.

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