Day 3: James 1:12-18

We’re traveling through the book of James, using the SOAP method of Bible study.  You can find a description here.  Your thoughts and insights welcome!  Post in the comments section.  Let’s hear from each other!

Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

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

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7 thoughts on “Day 3: James 1:12-18

  1. Ever notice that when trials come our way and anxiety comes to the foreground, it is very easy to miss seeing God’s blessing or provision. It’s not that we’re not crying out to God or anything, it’s just that our eyes are not always open to the provision that God supplies. Likewise when life is good and we have enough luxuries to keep us comfortable, its easy to forget to stop and thank God for them or even to be generous with them.

    Maintaining a laser focus on God’s heart, and to always be mindful of his provision takes a lot of intention and practice. It takes wisdom. It takes prayer. It takes perserverance.

    For the poor it takes perseverance to recognize God’s provision and presence in times of scarcity. For the rich it takes perseverance to recognize the responsibility, not just to be thankful for the blessings we’ve received, but also to bless others as God has blessed.

    You see, it doesn’t matter who you are, God’s love is available to you. But it’s what you do with that love that is going to make the difference. Because here’s the choice, We are either going to press into God’s love and see the blessings he has given, or we are going to look past God’s love and grace, and believe that it is our circumstances and the amount of material possessions we have that give us joy.

    And if we are in that place where we believe it is material things or our circumstances that bring joy, than we are open to all kinds of misery including, pride, jealousy, anger, despair, or hatred. (Anyone ever been there?)

    And this is a dangerous place to be, because some people when they are here actually get to the point of blaming God for their anger or bitterness or despair. And this is why James tells us, don’t ever say, in times of difficulty, that this is God’s fault. Don’t blame God, when we are tempted toward despair, or anger or jealousy. Instead we need to look at our own hearts, because that’s where these things originate. And chances are, that when we look real close, we might discover, that at the core of our being, we really believe will bring us joy is not God, but something material.

    Something to think about.

  2. We are but mere mortals, therefore we are subject to mortal problems and thoughts. Sometimes we expect too much of our selves and those around us. Perfection in not in our or should I say, with in my reach? We always want someone or something else to blame for our problems. Conversely we don’t like to give someone else the praise for days when things go well.
    I find it difficult to focus on God’s influence in my life. I seem to focus on my own doings, whether they are go for me or not. Then when all else fails I will ask God for help, why and I so dense? I am I the only who does this?

  3. It can be hard sometimes to understand why God allows a trial or a time of suffering in our life, or in the life of someone we love. It’s a very human reaction I think though, to look for a reason or an explanation as to why a difficult circumstance is on our plate. And that’s okay, as long as it pulls us closer to God, relying on him for the outcome no matter what. Knowing that he will provide for us according to his will.

  4. We are using this series as our family devotions in the evening. What a great way to engage the kids. Great discussions!! And prayers. “Help us not to give up when we want to stop.” “Thank you that you do not change like shadows do.” Not the kind of stuff we usually get when reading the children’s Bible.
    Just thought I’d share.

  5. We are having a debate in the Robinson/Wesselson home. We have read that God does not tempt us. But, Does God test us?
    Are these two ideas one and the same? Or are they different?
    We have looked into Job (who did not ask to be tested but was tested by the Devil), and David (who did ask to be tested, Psalms 26:2) but did God acutally test him? Is it God who tests us? If he does what is the purpose?

  6. I agree..God does not tempt us. To me, being tempted is about being tempted to sin. It’s about that thing that we, or the Devil, or sometimes others in our lives put right out in front of us to attempt to lead us “down the garden trail”, so to speak.

    Testing is broader, to me. This is when God puts a tough situation into our lives or allows it to strengthen our faith, make us perservere, and become more mature as we saw in the first verses of James. Sometimes the test could be an overt sin-temptation, but it could also be an illness, financial reversal, etc. Where I get confused in my understanding, being such a linear thinker, is when the test comes because someone else sins against me, knowing that it is not within God’s character to have set things up so that that person could have so readily sinned. To me, God is trying hard all of the time to have us come to Him and be conformed to His likeness, and this gift is available to everyone.

    Therefore, I personally don’t feel that all the bad that comes to us is from God’s hand. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Some trials come because he allowed us free will (we make our own mistakes) and he allowed others free will and he is simply not into forcing us to love Him or His ways. (This argument lines up with what somebody wrote a little earlier about bad things happening because we live in a fallen world – original sin placing all of us in a position where illness can strike, volcanoes can erupt, etc.)

    Even when we first come to Him out of the faith He gives us, we still have to decide whether or not we will step into that faith. I’ll admit, he gives us everything to accept Him, but there is a tiny fraction of self here that he does not control. We have to give it to Him.

    In the end, we could debate for a long time just how sovereign God is over the bad stuff that happens. Christians have been doing it for hundreds of years, the way they debate all kinds if things. In the end, though, I think we all agree that when bad stuff happens, what will our reaction be, especially when we don’t know if God caused it? Will we obey or disobey? Will we trust or not? Will we perservere or not? Will we see the thing as an opportunity for character growth or not? What we do is way more important than why it happened, or who caused it, even though it is perfectly natural to ask why???

  7. Just as food for thought, this passage from Job came to mind:

    His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
    In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:9, 10 NIV)

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