Here’s the notes from last night’s study that a few of you said would be helpful if we posted them. Give us feedback if this is useful to you (email us or use the “comments”), and always feel free to let us know what God is showing you through the studies, too. We appreciate hearing what He’s speaking to you.
James 1:1-15 :: 12.8.10
v. 1 “the dispersion” – these people were scattered from their homeland living in other environments
v.2-4 “trials” → what were they? Away from home, maybe famine (Acts 11:28, A.D. 46), social-political upheaval leading to the Jewish Rebellion in A.D. 66-70, oppression & exploitation (5:4-6), injustice(2:6), mockery/persecution (2:7), sickness (5:14), need for patience (5:7), poverty (2:15), temptation (1:13)
how trials refine: see 1 Pet 1:17 & Pr 27:21 (also 1 Pet 4:12) (they “heat”” us to burn away impurities like fire and gold)
2 things to do in trials: 1. understand it with joy (v.2) 2. let it do its work (v.4)
why we can count it “joy”
- you have faith (you’re saved!)
- you want to be “complete” and mature (v.4) “all joy” = pure joy
- you want eternal comfort (v.12) see also 5:6-7 & 11 not “only” joy… the joy? → i’m on the road to eternity and crown! (see also Mt 5:11-12, 6:19-21)
v.4 James’ theme → you can (should) be “perfect” (mature”) and “complete” trials are needed for this: they are necessary, not accidental inconveniences, not random craziness. Trials are not bumps in the road—they are the road.
See Pr 24:10, Is 40:28-31
v.5 part of maturity (“lacking nothing”) is wisdom. Get it from God!
(see Job 28, Prov 2:1-9) so ask!
v. 6-8 the kind of asking God rewards → faith!
not “double-minded” (the opposite of “mature”) the anchor: Heb 6:19
see Ps 119:2 & 86:11
v. 9-11 the trial of poverty → endure by seeing and rejoicing in your position in Christ the temptation of wealth → endure by knowing the final end of it
v. 13-15 part of trial is often temptation, but that’s because of who we are, not who God is. His purpose in trial is maturity. Satan’s is our destruction our flesh’s is sin → It will always use any excuse…
so to apply all this…Let’s:
- let God change our thinking so that we desire to be mature and complete. Let’s not be satisfied with immaturity and incompleteness! Don’t be content to be weak and ineffective!
- let the Bible tell us how to look at and think about all the hard things that will come to our lives.
- let our thinking rule us, not necessarily our feeling. (or better yet: let God’s thoughts rule our thoughts and our feeling….) (or even better: Let God’s thought and feelings become our feelings… Joy in trials! see Mt 5:11-12, Act 5:31)
- use our biblical understanding to see that trials are doing good things for us.
- make it a habit to ask God for the wisdom we need to live with trials.
- beware of trials tricking us into giving into temptations as a way out of them… instead, let’s allow God to use them to make us people who endure and become mature
Word Note from “Trench’s Synonyms” Ὁλόκληρος & τέλειος (cf. Trench § xxii.): “in the ὁλόκληρος (complete) no grace which ought to be in a Christian man is deficient; in the τέλειος (perfect/mature) no grace is merely in its weak imperfect beginnings, but all have reached a certain ripeness and maturity.”