Written by James the Just, the half brother of Jesus. Yet he introduces himself humbly as “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
. . . the same James who received a special resurrection appearance of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:7). This was probably the cause of his conversion, because up to that time the brothers of Jesus seemed unsupportive of His message and mission (John 7:5).
When he did follow Jesus, he followed with great devotion. An early history of the church says that James was such a man of prayer that his knees had large and thick calluses, making them look like the knees of a camel. It also says that James was martyred in Jerusalem by being pushed from a high point of the temple. Yet the fall did not kill him, and on the ground he was beaten to death, even as he prayed for his attackers.
3. a. Count it all joy.
Trials are inevitable. It’s not a matter of if we fall into trials, but when.
The word translated trials “signifies affliction, persecution, or trial of any kind; and in this sense it is used here, not intending diabolic suggestion, or what is generally understood by the word temptation.” (Clarke)1
Testing of our faith produces patience (endurance, perseverance). The word in the original text translated as patience refers to “the quality that helps you finish a marathon”.1
Perfect and complete, lacking nothing
Seasoned, experienced, and mature
As we persevere, our endurance increases, and our faith produces patience—the ability to keep going.
Trials offer the opportunity to grow and overcome which produces maturity.
Trials can prove a wonderful work of God in us. “I have looked back to times of trial with a kind of longing, not to have them return, but to feel the strength of God as I have felt it then, to feel the power of faith, as I have felt it then, to hang upon God’s powerful arm as I hung upon it then, and to see God at work as I saw him then.” (Spurgeon)
Ask for wisdom
Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! (Romans 11:33)
We should ask God for wisdom to understand the purpose of the trial, how to handle it, and who God wants to be for us in the trial—Our deliverer, healer, shield, comforter, etc.
In a trial, we need wisdom more than we need knowledge. Knowledge is raw information, but wisdom knows how and when to use it.1
“We are all so ready to go to books, to go to men, to go to ceremonies, to anything except to God… Consequently, the text does not say, ‘Let him ask books,’ nor ‘ask priests,’ but, ‘let him ask of God.’” (Spurgeon)
Trust that God gives generously when we humbly ask in faith, not doubting. It’s perfectly fine to add, “Lord, help my unbelief.” This just means we admit our faith is weak, but we want to believe.
A double-minded person wants “to secure both worlds; he will not give up earth, and he is loath to let heaven go.” (Clarke)
The intended outcome from every trial is to focus our trust on God alone. The things of earth—money, jobs, relationships, possessions, physical strength, diplomas, intelligence—are fleeting.
b. A blessing for those who endure temptation
The purpose of temptation is to tear us down, discredit us, and destroy us.
God does not tempt us.
Satan knows our weaknesses. He can plant doubts during a trial, leading us to complain, and withdraw from God. A seed of bitterness germinates and grows into a root difficult to remove.
The world is full of opportunities to sin. If we deal with our lusts, temptation becomes powerless.
4. To those who love Him
Love, not fear, is the correct reason to resist temptation and endure trials. “The passions of sinful temptation can only really be overcome by a greater passion, and that is a passion for the honor and glory and relationship with God.”1
Those who persevere—standing strong through persecution, hardship, adversity, and temptations—receive the crown of life.
So whether we face a trial or a temptation, we ask God for wisdom and strength, then rest in Him.
5. Personal action plan
Judge myself regularly and ask the Holy Spirit to convict me of any desires that are ungodly.
Confess and seek to overcome in any area where I am weak or vulnerable.
Maintain an intimate relationship with Abba Father so I know and hear His voice.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
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2 AWM Living Commentary
Unless noted, all Scripture from public domain WEB translation.
My answers, research, and notes for BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 28 Day 2