"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." James 1:22-25
An openness to hearing and being receptive to the Scriptures is a demonstration of humility. Previously we learned the importance of being intentionally receptive to Scriptures. In James 1:22, we read that it is not only necessary to hear the Scriptures but we must be doers of the Word as well.
“You know this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-25
When trials come, temptations inevitably will follow. There will be temptations to doubt, to fear, to become angry, to become anxious, and the list can continue. Each temptation is ultimately a strategy devised to lure believer’s further from God and to cast doubt upon the supremacy, holiness, love, and character of God. Our actions inaudibly voice that we are not certain that we can trust God's sovereignty over all things, including the difficult trial we are currently facing.
"Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
When it comes to temptations in life, we know that there will be many and that there will also be varying types and degrees. The temptations that we face as individuals are uniquely and specifically appealing to us.
"No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13
Temptation will come to every believer and in the previous blog post we learned that temptation does not come from God. So what should we do when we are faced with temptation and what happens when we yield to temptation?
"Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." James 1:13-15
Testing versus tempting…does God do both?
"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." James 1:6
Trials, what we know to be challenges in life, test our faith. We look at circumstances and so many things begin to cross our minds. So how do we know if we are questioning or doubting? This is an important question because Scripture tells us to ask in faith without doubting.
"James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,..." James 1:1 (NASB)
James was an excellent example of someone who knew and understood his purpose. At some point in life we’ve all asked ourselves or wondered why we exist and what our purpose is in life. We go to college or vocational school, we train, and we learn new skills to improve ourselves so that we can discover what we are to do or to become in life. The perpetual question, “Why am I here?” has repetitiously crossed the minds of countless individuals, Christian and non-Christian alike. We want to make sure that we know our purpose and know that we are fulfilling our purpose while we are here on this earth.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8
When going through a trial, wisdom is shown when we are able to understand that we can count it all joy because we know that God determines the type of trial, the duration of the trial, and the intensity of the trial, which He uses to produce steadfastness in us so that we mature. God is so gracious that He tells us to ask for wisdom if we do not understand the purpose for trials and cannot consider it all joy. When He gives the directive to ask for wisdom, there is a condition; He tells us that we must ask in faith without any doubting. If we do not ask in faith, we should not expect to receive anything because we are like a surf of the sea and double-minded.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
There are many things in life that we consider joyfully and many things that bring us joy. There are few people that would consider trials as one of those things. Yet we are confronted in Scripture about our attitude towards trials, which are also referred to as testing and we are challenged to evaluate our thoughts towards the purpose of trials in our lives.
"James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings." James 1:1 (NKJV)
So many times in life we are asked questions that relate to finding out who we are. These questions can become difficult if we really don’t know the answer ourselves. We answer these varied questions by stating who we believe we are, but most often times we answer these questions by what we do as a vocation. Because of this, we face the dilemma of being categorized by titles, roles, and positions in the workplace, our communities, and even in the church, which can subsequently result in arrogance or even self-pity because of worldly standards. James, the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19), is a great example of how to free ourselves from the subtle and ever-increasing desire of wanting to identify ourselves by a position, a role, or by what we do as an occupation, hobby, or title.
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,