As time was nearing for me to prepare another article for my column I felt the Lord prompting my heart to discuss a few verses from James Chapter One. I enjoy reading the book of James. It is very enlightening.
Highlights from James
Count it all joy
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations:
This verse is self-explanatory. When the devil is coming at you with every thinkable temptation, stand strong in faith. Remain calm and dont lose your joy. Remember the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace. (Gal. 5:22) Remember also that the joy of the Lord is your strength. Youve heard people say, "Dont let em see you sweat." Well, dont let the devil see you frown.
I want to point out that if you fall into temptation to the point of sinning you need to repent, get up, dust yourself off and start again. Dont be so shocked that you have sinned. God wasnt. He made provision for your failures through His Word. Read 1st John 1:9. Im not saying its okay to sin. But, I am saying that if we do sin, the Word tell us that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (I John 2:1)
The Fact is
Many think that temptation is sin, but if you do not give in to temptation you have not sinned. Jesus was tempted yet without sin. If you are given in to temptation, you have sinned and you need to repent immediately! There is no time left to play around with sin.
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
We all go through trials and temptations. God doesnt send them but He often uses them to teach us patience. I havent enjoyed any of the trials I have gone through but I am enjoying the patience I have learned. Yes, patience has brought me joy. Dont be discouraged, though you are going through a trying time right now. You will come out victorious.
Important to point out:
Why do we need patience? Here are a few simple reasons:
So we wont panic every time something goes wrong
So we wont act childlike when we dont get our way
So we will become the mature Christians God wants us to bedoing His will without murmuring and complaining much unlike the Israelites who wondered in the wilderness forty years.
Patience brings perfection
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Remember when you were a child? You saw a new toy and you wanted it right then. You couldnt wait to get it. But as you grew older and matured you learned that waiting for something didnt necessarily mean you werent ever going to get it.
I think sometimes when we are in a trial we panic because we think we arent ever going to be clear of our current circumstances. We think we arent going to come out of the storm were in. What we need to learn is that no matter what we are going through God is going to bring us out. He is only allowing our faith to be perfected. What satan means for evil, God will turn it around and use it for good.
Perfection is what God is seeking in each one of us. He wants us to be perfect, lacking in nothing. Meaning, He wants us to be holy and joyful.
The moment you achieve patience in a spiritual battle that is the moment you have won the war against your soul.
Ask God First
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Many times, when children of God are battling something, instead of first asking God for help they ask their friends, their pastor, even people in prayer rooms they dont even know that well, "What am I going to do? How am I going to get out of this?"
Why do they do this? I dont know, but I do know that God wants us to ask Him first. He alone has the wisdom we need to overcome. All we have to do is ask Him. When we have a problem, its okay to ask others to pray, but we shouldnt ask their advice about the matter until we have spoken with the Father first.
The fact is
We shouldnt insult Gods intelligence by making His wisdom second choice.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
The above verse makes it very clear that we must endure temptation if we are to receive the crown of life. What does this mean?
It means temptation is inevitable, because there is a devil, and we must resist the fleshly desire to sin. We do this by staying in the Word night and day if necessary.
As we have discussed earlier in the chapter, being tempted is not sin. It is only when we are drawn into the temptation that sin takes place. The key word is being drawn.
The Fact is
If we truly love the Lord we will do everything in our power to stay holy and pure before him. And let us not forget God is there to help us overcome. All we have to do is ask.
God Tempts No One
Verse 13, 14&15:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But every man is tempted, when is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
I have heard many teach that God sends trials to make us strong. The above verse makes it clear God does NOT do this. He does not send us heartaches, sickness, and trouble to make us strong. How ludicrous. Dont be misled. The devil is behind each and every attack you are under. Its time to stand up and resist him in the name of Jesus!
The Fact is
We sin when we are drawn away by our own lust. Whose lust? Our own lust. God has nothing to do with it.
Be Doers of the Word
But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Churchgoers will go to church on Sunday morning and hear Gods Word preached but by the end of the week these same Christians are down and out, sick and afflicted. Why? Because they were hearers only and not doers. We must be doers of the Word. Simply put, we must do what the Word says.
God never intended for any of us to have a hard time in life. God gave us His Word and if we obey it we will have a good life. I dont believe, for a second, God sends hard times.
Important to point out
God is a good God and if we obey His Word we will not be deceived into believing hard times are a part of life sent by Him. That is the devils lie and he is the great deceiver. Dont be deceived, be a doer of the Word.
Summary of what we studied:
Count it all joy when you find yourself in times of testing
Trials, though not instigated by the Lord, will bring patience
Patience brings about perfection
If you sin, repent and start again
Dont make Gods wisdom second on your list
If you endure temptation you will receive the Crown of Life
God is not the tempter, the devil is
Be a doer of the Word and not a hearer onlydeceiving your own selves.