Test, Trials, Wisdom and Faith

Test, Trials, Wisdom and Faith

 

James 1:1 – 8
 
All of us have taken tests. Math tests, science tests, job placement tests – even a physical from a doctor is a test of sorts. Whether taken at school on the job, tests are common to all. It is likely, however, that none of us takes pleasure in the. Rather than conjuring feelings of joy, tests probably leave us with a sense of fear, frustration or perhaps resignation. If mere tests at school and work can affect us this strongly, how much more potential, then, do real tests – tests that try our faith – have to bring discouragement? James’ first-century audience was experiencing a testing of faith, and James gave them what might seem to be unusual instructions: Rejoice and seek the wisdom of God! Those same instructions are given to us today.

 

Definition of Faith:

  • Webster’s Dictionary – Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing; Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence; Loyalty to a person or thing.
  • Bible Definition – Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
    • Do you remember how you felt when you were younger and your birthday approached? You were excited and anxious. You knew you would certainly receive gifts and other special treats. But some things would be a surprise. Birthdays combined assurance and anticipation, and so does faith! Faith is the conviction based on past experience that God’s new and fresh surprises will surely be ours.
    • Two words describe our faith: confidence and certainty. These two qualities need a secure beginning and ending point. The beginning point of faith is believing in God’s character – he is who he says. The end point is believing in God’s promises – he will do what he says. When we believe that God will fulfill his promises even though we don’t see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith.

 

 

James 1:1-8

   [1] James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

    [2] My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; [3] Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. [4] But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. [5] If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. [6] But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. [7] For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. [8] A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

 

Verse 2: The word temptation as used here refers to trials or testing. It does not mean an enticement to do evil. While God tests us, he never provokes us to sin

  • James 1:12 – 16[12] Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. [13] Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: [14] But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. [15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. [16] Do not err, my beloved brethren.

 

Verse 2, 3: James doesn’t say if we face trials, but when we face them. He assumes we will have trials and that it is possible to profit from them. We are not required to pretend to be happy when we face pain, but to have a positive outlook because of the results trials will bring. James tells us to turn our hardships into times of learning. Rough times can teach us patience.

Patience, perseverance, and steadfastness:

  • Romans 2:7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:”
  • Romans 5:3 – 5[3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
  • Romans 8:24, 25[24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:3 – 7[3] Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: [4] But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, [5] In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; [6] By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, [7] By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
  • 2 Peter 1:2 – 9[2] Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, [3] According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: [4] Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. [5] And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; [6] And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; [7] And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. [8] For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [9] But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

 

Verse 2 – 4: We can’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. It is easy to be kind when everything is going well, but can we still be kind when others are treating us unfairly? God desires to make us mature and complete (“perfect”), not to keep us from all pain. Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth. Thank God for promising to be with you in rough times. Ask him to help you solve your problems or give you the strength to endure them. Then be patient. God will not leave you alone with your problems; he will stay close by and help you grow.

 

Verse 5: By “wisdom”, James is talking not only about knowledge, but the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances. If we need wisdom, we can pray to God and he will supply what we need. Christians never need to grope about in the dark, hoping to stumble upon answers. We can ask for God’s wisdom to guide our choices.

 

Verse 5: When James speaks of wisdom, he means practical discernment. Wisdom begins with respect for God, leads to right living, and results in increased ability to tell right from wrong. God is willing to give us this wisdom; but we will be unable to receive it is our goals are self-centered instead of God-centered. To learn God’s will, we need to read God’s Word, ask him to show us how to obey it, and then we must do what he tells us.

  • Luke 12:31But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
  • Matthew 6:33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

Verse 6: God does not grant every thoughtless or selfish request. To “ask in faith” means asking with confidence that God will align our desires with his purposes.

  • Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

This is not a guarantee that we can get anything we want simply by asking Jesus and believing. God does not grant requests that would hurt us or others or that violate his own nature or will. Jesus’ statement is not a blank check. To be fulfilled, our requests must be in harmony with the principles of God’s Kingdom. The stronger our belief, the more likely our prayers will be in line with God’s will, and then God will be happy to grant them.

 

Verse 6: A mind that “wavers” is not completely convinced that God’s way is best. It treats God’s Word like any human advice retaining the option of disobedience. It vacillates between feelings, the world’s ideas, and God’s command. It your faith is new, weak, or struggling, remember God is trustworthy; be loyal to him. To stabilize your wavering or doubtful mind, commit yourself wholeheartedly to God.


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