Lately, I’ve been studying James (my favorite book). If you have read James at all, you know that it is a hard one. It challenges us and brings wisdom and correction in the places we need it most but don’t want to go. I will share from my personal study, much like I did on the book of Joel.
What I find interesting as I read and study James, is that there are many verses we all have memorized and can quote but I think we forget what’s in between these often quoted verses.
James is first bringing up trials and testing of our faith.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers,?when you meet trials?of various kinds,?3for you know that?the testing of your faith?produces steadfastness.?4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be?perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2
So we have: ?Trials > Joy > Testing of Faith > Steadfastness > Perfect & Complete
This means we have hope during our trials because we know it is good for us, that good will come out of it. We may not be jumping up and down and celebrating because of our trials and I don’t think that is what he is saying. But what is your usual response to trials? We might get upset, frustrated, worried; rather, we are to be joyful aka have hope because God is taking us through something that is eventually leading us into perfection and completion.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom,?let him ask God,?who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.?6But?let him ask in faith,?with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like?a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.?7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;?8 he is a double-minded man,?unstable in all his ways. Verses 5-8
Another set of verses we know well. Remember that we are still talking about trials here. So, in your trial, ask God for wisdom. He gives generously! We are warned about asking in faith without doubting. When we doubt, it shows our heart. We know God is faithful, we know He provides, we know He is good and sovereign, so when we doubt, what are we putting our trust and faith in? If you are doubting, then you are double minded and supposing you will not receive what you ask. This isn’t about having enough faith to get something you want… it doesn’t depend on our amount of faith. But God knows our heart. Are we trusting in Him? If you say to God, “Please help me get through this situation,” and then you don’t put your trust and faith in Him to do that, you are double-minded, having faith and then not having faith. That is why James keeps telling us to “remain steadfast” in our trials.
1. Fast fixed; firm; firmly fixed or established; as the stedfast globe of earth.
2. Constant; firm; resolute; not fickle or wavering.
Fix your eyes on Him, remain constant, do not be fickle but keep your feet firmly planted in His Word and trust Him!
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Verse 12
There is a reward at the end of your trial. God promises the crown of life to those who love Him. That would be referring to eternity, right? So, yes, our whole life is a trial but if you remain steadfast…back to verse 2…you will be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”