It is so difficult to go through trials and temptations, isn’t it? I don’t like it. Most people don’t “like” it. The pain that we go through in life though, has purpose. Most of us don’t want to hear this at first when we begin going through a particularly hard circumstance. But, the benefit though, is that the testing of your faith, and my faith, produces patience.
Introducing The Book Of James
James, an apostle in the New Testament, wrote this book, actually an epistle(a letter). He begins James by stating that he is a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. This epistle is written to the twelve tribes scattered throughout the earth. Next, James gives Greetings! The twelve tribes are the descendants of Jacob, renamed Israel. They are Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issacher, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim, and Manasseh.
I read recently that this book is considered the “Proverbs” of the New Testament. Last week, I finished a devotional series on the book of Proverbs. Both James and Proverbs are filled with practical everyday living truths to guide us as we walk with our Lord and Savior.
I mentioned earlier how James began this epistle. Here are the next 7 verses that I am going to concentrate on today:
2″ Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.“James 1:2-8
Question: Why should we consider it pure joy, when we face trials? Is joy the same as happiness? Is joy, fun?
The Process Of A Trial Working
Verse 3 answers this question. It is because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. This is a process. It isn’t immediate!
- We face a trial or several trials
- Testing produces perseverance(persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success).
- Perseverance when it is completed, we are more mature and complete. We don’t lack anything. It doesn’t mean we have everything the way we want it. It is just that we realize that we have what we need. Our faith is strengthened. We know that the Lord is in control and knows what He is doing. Our comfort and peace rests in Him alone.
This process can take some time. It could take a while between all three steps. The more trials we experience and understand God’s work in our life through our trials, we become familiar with what He wants to accomplish in our life and why He wants to use these trials. He wants to use these trials to Mature us.
When I read through Proverbs, I observed how God wants me to choose wisdom and righteousness. He wants me to put away anger, greed, selfishness and other sins. When I choose God’s direction and the ways He wants me to act, the maturity process does not take as long.
Anger Hinders Our Growth
Take anger, for instance. If I stay angry when I go through a difficult situation, a trial, it takes much longer for me to learn and grow. I don’t persevere either. There is quite a delay in the process of learning why God allowed a difficult trial into my life. I can learn too, quite a lesson in repentance when I go through trials. Even though I may not have done anything to deserve a trial, if I stop going in the direction towards Him, I will stay stagnant and will not grow and get through this maturing process. The anger I may have, will not turn to joy because I choose to follow Him in this process of growth and maturation.
When I go,(towards Him) I grow! If I stop(following Him), I drop!Rebecca Duncan
A Personal Story
Personal Application- For several years, I struggle with my kids not making the choices I hope that they would make in their life. I keep waiting and hurting at times, wishing that situations will change, but they don’t change on my time schedule. It is hard to watch and wait when things don’t turn out like we wish, but God still is teaching me to hold on and wait on Him, not what I hope and wish for. God is not done yet! When a new circumstance comes up, and it doesn’t work out like I hope, it isn’t taking quite as long as it originally did.
A few weeks ago, it seemed like everything broke down in the same week or was still in or going to a shop to get fixed. It became more upsetting the more that broke down. I did remember though, that the Lord God had something to teach me in all of it and the problems then and throughout life would be over soon. My Savior, who is in complete control, is able to do more than I ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20 and Jude 1:24) I turn to Him alone and talk to Him through prayer. He gave me comfort and peace in the middle of all of the circumstances that week.
What To Do When We Lack Wisdom
Verse 5 specifically calls out “if anyone lacks wisdom…” We do often lack wisdom when we go through a difficult circumstance. It is tough to know what to do, so God is the one who offers us the ability to come to Him when we don’t know what we should do. He is the one who can and will help us and give generously, without finding fault. But, we have to ask, believing that He will give us what He said He will give us. If we don’t believe, verse 6 says that we are like “a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
Many of us have been in ocean water or water in general, trying to swim. When the wind starts up, the water starts moving more and if it gets bad enough, can actually throw us around. We can even fall under water, and could drown if we don’t know how to swim. I remember when I was young, the wind was blowing and I was in the water, actually on the gulf side of Florida. Hurricane season was getting close. I didn’t swim real well, but a wind knocked me off a raft, and into the water, over my head. Anxiety came over me. Thankfully, an uncle saw what happened and came to rescue me. I was very thankful he was observant and helped when he did.
Tossing and throwing us around is what happens also, when we don’t have faith. One day we feel confident, the next day or bad trial, we don’t have faith. We don’t trust God to care for us and give us wisdom and guidance. When we doubt often, we don’t have faith. Verse 7 then tells us, that we should not expect to receive what we ask for, from the Lord. When we doubt one minute, then have faith, and it goes back and forth in our life, we are also called “double-minded” and we are “unstable” in all we do.
Think again about the water. When we fall, we are unstable! We are unable to stand on our own, but we also are not standing, confident that God has us secure in Him either! That peace that we should have and the wisdom we should have because we asked and depended on God to give us, is not there. So, stand, completely in faith, knowing He has a plan in all we ask! Give Him a chance to prove His faithfulness in everything we go through! Then, count it all joy!!!!