Trials of Various Kinds
James 1:2-4 ESV
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I like it that it says “trials of various kinds,” for truly we do face various kinds of difficulties in our lives, some of them small, and some of them huge, and everything in between. And, I think sometimes it is the little ones that have greater potential of overtaking us than some of the big ones. For, the little ones are the kind that tend to take us more by surprise than the big ones which we may be more prepared to face. For, the little ones can sneak up on us. And, sometimes we have big ones that we survive, but while we are still in process with the big ones, then the little ones hit us, too.
As I shared in my previous post, “When I Was Walking,” yesterday for me was filled with those little trials and challenges. Added to them was that I was not feeling well, and when I don’t feel well or I am more tired, I am more susceptible to being impacted by those small trials, especially when they come one after another after another after another like they did yesterday. And, at one point, when I was about ready to just break down crying, the Lord brought to mind the words to the song he was having me write where in the song I prayed for him to help me, so I prayed it again.
So, these trials are not sent our way to just torment us, although it may seem that way, sometimes. I believe a big reason for them is to humble us and to cause us to rely on God and not on ourselves. They are to make us aware of our own frailty and how much we need God to make it through every moment of every day. And, they are to make us strong and steadfast so that we can survive other trials which may be bigger. And, God allows these trials in our lives or he sends them our way so that we will share in his holiness and so that we will bear spiritual fruit for his eternal kingdom.
And, they are allowed in our lives or they are sent our way to help bring us to maturity in Christ. So, we should be thankful for these trials for they are helping us to grow in our walks of faith, and they are leading us to rely more on the Lord in everything, and they are producing in us spiritual fruit – all providing that we respond to them in the correct way. For, we have to listen to the Lord and to hear what he wants to teach us through these trials, and then we have to respond in faith to those lessons if we are going to mature.
Lacking in Wisdom?
James 1:5-8 ESV
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But 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. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Some people never learn, though, which is why they keep repeating the same errors of judgment and the same sinful behaviors over and over and over again, habitually, as a matter of course in their lives. And, they don’t learn from their trials, because they don’t listen to the Lord, for they truly are not willing to change. For, they have stubborn and unrepentant hearts.
They may pray, and they may ask God for wisdom, but then they don’t heed his counsel. And, they may do this repeatedly over many years, too, where they go through difficulties, or where they keep repeating the same sins, and where they pray and ask God for his help in overcoming their sinful habits, but then when he shows them their hearts and what they need to do to change, they walk away and forget what they look like, and so they never grow to maturity because they aren’t willing to obey God (see vv. 22-25).
So, these people are double-minded, because even though they are truly lacking in wisdom, their prayers for help are not sincere, for they pray but then they don’t follow up their prayers with faith, which is revealed in what they do. So, if we are going to ask God for his help, then we need to do what he says, for if we don’t, then what is the point in asking him? For, if we are asking God for help, then we need to do what he says to do.
Steadfast Under Trial
James 1:12-15 ESV
“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. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
The word “blessed” literally can be translated as “happy,” but “happy” can come from the flesh, too, and it can be very conditional and superficial, and it can appease the flesh, too. So, we need to dig a little deeper into the meaning of this word “blessed,” for it also means God extending his benefits to us, his provisions, his favor, his grace (source: biblehub.com).
So, how do we receive God’s favor, his grace (his benefits)? We receive his grace by faith, but not by human or superficial faith, but by divinely persuaded and God-given faith which submits to the Lordship of Christ, leaves our lives of sin behind us, and which walks in surrender and in obedience to our Lord (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
So, we receive God’s favor, his spiritual benefits of forgiveness of sin, of strength in weakness, of divine counsel, of walks of faith and eternal life with God when we are steadfast (unwavering, persistent) under trial. And, these trials include temptation to sin, too. For, again, if we ask for God’s help, but then we willfully keep on in our sinful practices, then we are double-minded and we won’t receive anything from God (Gal. 5:16-21).
This is not saying we will be perfect, although lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for continued willful and often premeditated sin against God. For, the scriptures teach genuine faith in Jesus Christ as making him Lord of our lives and as us walking in obedience to him by the Spirit of God, daily putting sin to death by the Spirit of God. And, it describes those who don’t have faith as those who are walking in disobedience to God, living for sin and self, and indulging in the flesh.
So, the bottom line here is that if we want to have God’s grace, i.e. His spiritual benefits in our lives, then we need to listen to Him, do what He says to do, and not refuse Him by going our own way after we seek His counsel, and after He instructs us in His way. For, trials are for our good, to teach us to depend on God, although God does not tempt us to sin.
But, through trials, if we respond to them correctly, we will grow to maturity in Christ, learn to depend on God more in everything, and we will become stronger in our faith and in our ability to ward off Satan’s attacks against us. We will become more Christlike, and we will bear much fruit in keeping with repentance for God’s eternal kingdom. And, we will be able to help others and to encourage them in their times of trial and difficulty, too.
So, don’t let your trials get the best of you. Don’t cave to Satan’s tricks and schemes against you. He means these trials for evil, but God means them for good. Pray to God for help! And, then obey what He says to do. Rest in Him and let Him lead you in the way you should go, and be thankful, too.
When I Was Walking
An Original Work / January 16, 2020
When I was walking along the way,
My Lord was with me, and He did say,
“My child I’m with you. I hear you pray,
‘Oh, help me, Lord! Need You today!’”
He is my friend, near to the end.
Gently leads me. His servant be.
He helps me pray – knows what to say.
He’s all I need. On Him I feed.
When I am wond’ring of what to do,
He gently leads me to what is truth.
He is my helper. He strengthens me.
When I’m in want, supplies my need.
He comforts me with all His love.
Gives me His grace from heav’n above.
I heed His call to watch and pray,
To guard my heart throughout each day.
When He is calling to come to Him,
To let Him lead you, trust Him within,
How will you answer to Him today?
Will you say, “Yes, Lord, have your way”?
Do not neglect to let Him in,
Cleanse you from sin, made new within.
Leave all your sin, obey your Lord,
Trust in His Word – His mighty Sword.