Part 3- How to Welcome Trials with an Attitude of Joy?
This is part 3 of a 15 part Bible Study on the book of James .
Compiled and written by Norma Becker – a true woman of God and God’s word.
*The Index, with links, to all 15 parts is at the bottom of each page.
How to Welcome Trials with an Attitude of Joy?
“If any to you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
Remember in Colossians when Paul prayed that they might be “filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9)? Wisdom in Scripture always means knowledge of the course of action that will please God, so the promise of James 1:5 is in effect a promise of guidance.
“When the work of perseverance is finished we will lack nothing; but before perseverance has finished its work in the trial if anyone ‘lacks wisdom,’ he may have it by asking” (James 1:4).
It is the wisdom that gives understanding of the nature and purpose of trials and knowing how to meet them victoriously – practical insights into life, not theoretical knowledge. The Greek present tense gives the meaning of asking repeatedly. It is the practice of God to give generously and without finding fault. He does not scold his children for asking nor berate them for their deficiency.
We can also remember that Proverbs 9:10 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).
God’s promise of help has some pre-requisites. He must ask in faith. He must believe and not doubt. We must be sure we want what we ask for and we must be confident that God will give us what we have asked for.
“Because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
He is someone who wavers between two opinions. One moment he voices the yes of faith; the next moment it is the no of disbelief. James says doubts leave us as unsettled as the restless waves.
Our Prayer Must be Marked by Unwavering Faith
“That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:7-8).
He is unstable in all he does. In our prayers, are we sometimes double minded? Do we sometimes have mental reservations about our prayer itself and about the request we are making to God. Does that mean we are double minded in our personal, business, social as well as our spiritual life?
How is this man different from the man in Mark 9:24-27 who cried out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” The father was not oscillating between belief and unbelief. He desired to believe but because he felt his faith was inadequate, he asked for help in believing. He was not facing in both directions at the same time like the man in verse 8. He knew he was weak but wanted to believe. Christ responded to his faith and healed his son.
“The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business” (James 1:9-11).
I struggled a long time with these versus, but the commentary that seemed to say it the best was The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Paraphrased it says:
“He seems to still be talking about trials. Poverty is an external trial. The poor Christian is to rejoice in his new status in Jesus because it has brought him true wealth. He is an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus.”
A rich Christian, on the other hand, is to rejoice because he is in Christ he is where the ‘deceitfulness of wealth’ talked about in Mark 4:19 and the desire to gain and retain it, along with the anxiety and stress that accompanies it, are no longer primary or even relevant now that he knows Christ. Besides, riches are temporary. He is like the grass that will fade away.
What are we Supposed to do When Difficulties Don’t Let Up?
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
What is promised to those who persevere? What is the crown of life? Is it the same as in Revelation 2:10? For James it seems to refer to the reward given the believer who is victorious in his struggle against trials. It seems that this ‘life that God has promised’ is more than the eternal life given to every believer when they are saved. Since it is a reward for an accomplishment after he has faith, it must refer to a still higher quality of life.
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire his conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:13-15).
Part 4: What Does ‘Tempt’ Mean?
Index of James Bible Study
Part 1 Who is James?
Part 2 When and to Whom Was James Written?
Part 3 How to Welcome Trials with an Attitude of Joy?
Part 4 What Does ‘Tempt’ Mean?
Part 5 What is the Key to Responding to Trials?
Part 6 Those with True Religion Should Serve
Part 7 Expression of the Character and Will of God Himself
Part 8 Spiritual Maturity
Part 9 Spiritual Maturity continued…
Part 10 What Causes Fights and Quarrels Among You?
Part 11 Is This How We Are To Be?
Part 12 What About My Plans?
Part 13 Let God be the Judge
Part 14 The Power of Prayer & Praise
Part 15 Summary and last part