Joyous Tests James 1:2-8, 12


James 1:2-8, 12 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 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. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 12 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.”
Giacomo 1:2-8, 12 Fratelli miei, considerate una grande gioia quando venite a trovarvi in prove svariate, sapendo che la prova della vostra fede produce costanza. E la costanza compia pienamente l’opera sua in voi, perché siate perfetti e completi, di nulla mancanti. Se poi qualcuno di voi manca di saggezza, la chieda a Dio che dona a tutti generosamente senza rinfacciare, e gli sarà data. Ma la chieda con fede, senza dubitare; perché chi dubita è simile a un’onda del mare, agitata dal vento e spinta qua e là. Un tale uomo non pensi di ricevere qualcosa dal Signore,perché è di animo doppio, instabile in tutte le sue vie.
12 Beato l’uomo che sopporta la prova; perché, dopo averla superata, riceverà la corona della vita, che il Signore ha promessa a quelli che lo amano.”
     The believers had been scattered throughout the region and James gives a timely message for them and us today. Certainly there are trials that occur because of our own mistakes. But in this case, James says to consider the testing of our faith a joy and not a punishment. Most people find it joyful when they escape trials but James says to rejoice in them! This is a little easier said than done. In his reference, “my brothers”, James identifies with those who are facing persecution. There are three key words that flow together with a concluding reminder to us. They are “perseverance”, “wisdom”, and “believe” (v. 4-6). Perseverance means to keep up your stamina or be steadfast. You might ask “How do I do that?” The answer from James is to ask for wisdom. We use this scripture many times to ask God for insight in circumstances and that is good; but the context of this passage tells us that if we do not know how to live joyfully in trials, we should ask God for wisdom in situations. Lastly, none of this works without a genuine belief that God will be there. The two things that damage our joy under trials are doubt and double-mindedness. Both suggest a vacillating faith. The word “double-minded” is literally translated double-souled. Not only is there doubt but also a staggering to the point of collapse.
     Verse 12 gives us a marvelous promise to those facing numerous kinds of trials: those who have “stood the test” (persevered, asked for wisdom and remained stable in their faith) will receive a crown of life. Since we can’t always change the situation, wouldn’t it be wiser to keep a correct and joyous attitude through it all?
Pray with me: Lord, I can identify with the fact that life as a believer has its challenges. Help me to look to the joyous advantages of an enduring and wise faith that will be rewarded by You in this life and also for eternity. 

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