Explore the Bible
October 21 2018
James 1:2-15 (HCSB)
James began his letter with one of the dominant themes of the book – trials. For the early Christians this would have been the trials that flowed from being scattered by persecution. The book of James is a kind of “in-your-face” letter. James Wilder my New Testament professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said “James thunders forth with an Old Testament like prophetic voice pricking the conscience convicting the soul and demanding that we change the way we live.” Trials are literally designed by God to change our lives.
James wrote “Consider it a great joy my brothers whenever you experience various trials” (James 1:2). This statement seems contradictory or even impossible. His statement was in the imperative which made it a command. James was not suggesting that we put on our happy face because everything is going to be OK. James was not talking about happiness; he was talking about pure joy. So how can we rejoice in our trials?
Trials are under the sovereign authority of God. We don’t have to rejoice in trials because of what they are but for what the Lord is accomplishing with them in our lives. James gave four reasons to rejoice in trials.
First we endure to maturity. God uses trials to conform us to His image. An erroneous theology teaches that God wants to fix all our problems and make us prosperous. We should trust in His sovereignty regardless of the outcome of our trials. Second trials teach us to ask God for wisdom. Since God designed it we need His perspective. Third we need to rely on His resources. I have learned money cannot solve all our problems. We will all stand before God some day with empty pockets. Last we must take ownership of our temptations. Trials naturally come with temptations. One of the greatest temptations in trials is to lean on our own sufficiency. I don’t know how many times I have said to myself “I can fix this.” Ultimately I could not.
Believers should persevere in trials because God is sufficient and sovereign in all things.