The purpose of faith
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2 & 3
The book of James. It has been said to be the Proverbs of the New Testament. I want to go through this book in much the same way we did the book of Proverbs, but only in small sections instead of whole chapters each day. Today we will look at James 1, verses 1 – 8.
This book starts with the admonishing to think of trials as a joyous thing. It’s not an easy thing to do. We all are in a trial right now and although we are all together in this thing, I haven’t heard anyone say we should chalk this up as a joyous event. What is there to be joyful about a quarantine, social distancing and covering your face in public places. James points out that trials are the reason for our faith. We spend our time building up our faith by spending quiet time with God, reading His Word and loving others, but the times we actually are using our faith is when we are going through something. This is when James says we should get excited and be joyful. Imagine the next struggle that comes your way and when you see it you say “Oh good, I get to use my faith now and trust God to get me through this and bring a good result for all involved.” It usually doesn’t happen that way, but what if we trained or grew our faith to that extent. How would going through trials be so much more different?
James goes on to say in verses 4 – 8 that faith works patience and then patience produces a perfect work which results in our lacking nothing. That sounds pretty good. The only problem with that is most of us don’t want to ask for patience because we have been conditioned by the world that patience brings the trial. It turns out, that is totally backwards. James says it gets you through the trials as you combine it with your faith. (The trials are coming either way, with or without patience)
Now we ask for wisdom to know the right steps to take as we go through trials. We are also assured that we have that wisdom because God said He would give it generously. Even though we don’t feel like we have it, we just go ahead and thank God for it because He said He would give it. That’s when we receive it, when we believe He will do what He said He will. Lastly, it says if we waver or debate that we have wisdom or question whether God will give it, we can expect to receive nothing because we are unstable and not only in receiving wisdom, but also in all our ways.
I want to leave you with this passage in the book of Acts of how the apostles rejoiced after they were beaten for preaching the good news. Acts 5:40 – 42 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. This is truly an example of being joyful in the midst of a trial. They recognized that the trial was the purpose they were given faith in the first place.
Today I want to encourage you to count it all kinds of joy when trials come because it gives you to opportunity to let God come in and work all the circumstances together for good. Let your faith and patience work together in whatever struggle you are going through and receive wisdom from God to get the plan for victory!
Today’s scripture reading: James 1:1 – 8