Reading: James 1:1-18

Today’s thoughts by: Eric Ferguson
What does this passage tell me about God?

James 1:13 – 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 

Our trials and temptations are not from God.  However, God uses our trials to help us to become more like Jesus.

James 1:16-18 – 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

In a world where everything seems so uncertain, this passage reminds us that God remains steady in who He is.  He is the provider of all we have and He is accomplishing His purposes through us.

 

Does this passage give any promises, principles, commands or warnings?

James 1:5 – 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 

Promise #1 – God provides wisdom to those who ask.

Simply stated: Wisdom is an understanding of how the world works and the ability to navigate it well.  If we are willing to ask God in our pain, He will often use pain to make us wise.  Make no mistake we are completely dependent upon God for wisdom.  Why is wisdom so important?  It allows us to see what really matters.  They key question is, “do we believe that God will give us the wisdom He promises?”  Wisdom does not always solve our problems, but God’s wisdom helps us see things in a completely different way.  So much changes when we are able to see things as God sees them.

James 1:12 – 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Promise #2 – Victory is ours.

James says this: Wisdom allows us to step back and look at the big-picture story of our lives.  That through our trials, God has already made us victorious.  James gives us this picture of a runner wearing a victory crown.  God promises victory to those who love Him.  We may feel pain in our current circumstances…but we don’t have to live with defeat.  The big-picture gives us hope beyond our present sufferings.

 

What is God saying to me through this, and what am I going to do about it?

There is so much in this passage that it is difficult to know where to even begin.  However, the starting point seems to be God saying to me, “I’m in control.”  My experience in life has led me to discover that the more I try to put myself in the seat of control, the more out of control things become.  On many levels I am a self-admitted control freak.  I joke about it often and my friends like to give me a hard time (that’s what friends are for).   But the truth remains when I am in control, I push God off to the side.

When we experience trials, they often lead us to the realization that we can’t control everything.  That is the beautiful thing about going through trials…they remind us just how dependent on God we truly are.   The two promises I listed above need to be at the forefront of my mind this week: God provides wisdom if I ask and victory is ours.  I am going to make a commitment to ask God for wisdom on a daily basis this week.

 

Within the next week, who can I have a conversation with about what I have learned?

I am currently walking with three people who are going through some major trials in their life.  I am going to spend time encouraging them this week.  My prayer is that God would give them the wisdom to see things as He sees them.  That they would be able to have an even clearer picture of the victory they have through Christ.

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