Faith through Trials
James 1: 1-4
Jesus’ brother wrote the book of James. He is speaking to his fellow Jews, male and female, his spiritual siblings, specifically to the twelve tribes of Israel that had been dispersed among the Greeks. What he is telling them flies in the face of what they thought the Messiah was to do when He came. They were expecting a conqueror that would restore Israel and crush its enemies. Instead, Jesus brought in a different kind of Kingdom. Not one of this world, but one of another, an invisible Kingdom that would eventually overcome, not overtake the world.
James starts in verse 2 by saying that his siblings should think of their trials and persecutions as times of rejoice. Why would anyone think that? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that this was the reward the prophets got when they were faithful. He said God would be ready to reward their faithful behavior despite the reaction they got here. (Matt 5:12). Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that if the faith of the prophets was tested, the faith of the church would be tested also.
James follows by saying that the testing of their faith would produce good fruit in them if, in fact, they looked forward to the good work the trials would produce.
This fruit would include steadfastness or endurance to keep their faith in difficult times. It would help them to fully understand precisely what they had faith in. Very often people mistake the object of their faith with the faith itself. Faith itself is incapable of anything. It is a mere vehicle that points to the object of that faith which is the person and work of Jesus Christ. We can count it all as joy because Jesus has overcome the world through His life, death, and resurrection. Because of our belief, or faith, in Jesus and His capabilities, we are persuaded that He can overcome the world. (1Peter 1:6-7, Romans 5:3, Hebrews 10:36, 2Peter 1:6) Additionally, a tested faith makes our brotherhood with Jesus dearer and nearer to our hearts.
Jesus, after all, suffered more than we have; and He deserved none of it.
Finally, when steadfastness has taken its full effect, the believer will be mature and complete, as James says, “lacking in nothing.” When we accomplish this, Jesus will smile. He will commend His faithful servants with eternal life with Him.
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Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, a Living Truth Ministry, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com