Understanding and overcoming trials
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Understanding and Overcoming Trials. The Epistle of James Dwight D. Eisenhower is quoted as saying, “An ‘intellectual’ is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell you more than he knows.” The Lord’s brother was not an ‘intellectual.’

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Understanding and Overcoming Trials

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Understanding and overcoming trials

Understanding and Overcoming Trials

  • The Epistle of James

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower is quoted as saying,

  • “An ‘intellectual’ is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell you more than he knows.”

  • The Lord’s brother was not an ‘intellectual.’

  • He, too, was the son of a carpenter, Matt.13:55.

  • He wrote this letter in simple and straight-forward terms that are plain and to the point.

  • It isn’t flowery, but instead blossoms into full-bloom frugality.


The epistle of j ames

The Epistle of James

  • Jamesdoes, however, use some terms and concepts which might seem synonymous, but aren’t- at least not in this epistle:

    • Tests (dokimon)- commands from God, either positive (“do this”) or negative (“don’t do this”);

    • Trials (peirasmos)- circumstances which make obedience to the commands more difficult; and

    • Temptation (peirazo)- overreaction to the circumstances (the ‘trial’) rather than reaction to the command (‘test’).

  • Now, with these things in mind, let’s take a look at…


  • J ames 1 2 8

    James: 1:2-8

    • To help us see the simple practicality of these verses, we’re going to concentrate mainly on the verbs, since they convey the command (action required) on our part:

      • v.2, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials;”

        • Trials (circumstances which make obedience to God more difficult) are the great equalizer in life- everyone has them. But such isn’t the point.

        • Trials, by their very nature, are neither “fun” nor “pleasant, and certainly are not “joyous”- but such isn’t the point.

        • “Consider” here means “to be of opinion” (Louw-Nida Lexicon of the Greek N.T.); and thus simply means “to think this way” about trials- as occasions for joy. Why, and how???


    J ames 1 2 81

    James: 1:2-8

    • To help us see the simple practicality of these verses, we’re going to concentrate mainly on the verbs, since they convey the command (action required) on our part:

      • v.3, “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

        • In order to be able “to be of the opinion” (consider) that trials are “occasions for joy,” there is something we must “know”- what is it?

        • That “the testing of your faith produces endurance.” In other words, that “good things” can/will come from these difficult times of testing for our faith, if we…


    J ames 1 2 82

    James: 1:2-8

    • To help us see the simple practicality of these verses, we’re going to concentrate mainly on the verbs, since they convey the command (action required) on our part:

      • v.4, “let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

        • Now think about this: What does “let” mean? It does not mean “to make happen,” does it?

        • “Let” means “to allow to happen”! If we understandthat trials are “occasions for joy” if we “consider” them so because we “know” that “the testing of our faith produces endurance,” then we can (let go and) “let” God“perfect and complete” us through endurance (steadfastness). We don’t mature by God removing “trials” for us- we mature by having the right attitude about them and remaining steadfastly obedient through them! 2Cor.12:7-10


    J ames 1 2 83

    James: 1:2-8

    • Not sure you’re spiritually smart enough to think, feel, and do this? God thought we might think this way, so…

      • v.5, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

        • If a Christian has his heart right, there is no excuse for lacking sufficient wisdom to “consider” trials occasions for joy by “knowing” that they will perfect and mature him if he will “let” them! Why?

        • Because God promised exactly the “wisdom” necessary, and more, for these things if we will just have a humble and desiring heart enough to ask!


    J ames 1 2 84

    James: 1:2-8

    • There is only one “catch” to all of this:

      • v.6, “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”

        • While the highlighted portion is not a verb this time, it is a predicate (adverbial) clause which modifies the verb by requiring that the “asking” be done in this way.

        • Simply put: The only requirement God makes of us in all of this is that we trust Him implicitly, vv.7-8.

        • He will generously give us the wisdom necessary to understand and feel the right way about trials, which in turn allows us to act the right way in trials, if we just ask for that wisdom in full trust that He will provide it! Now, isn’t that simple?


    J ames 1 2 85

    James: 1:2-8

    • It’s more than simple- it’s pragmatic and practical!

      • So, why don’t we all follow James’ instructions in these matters since…

      • We all need trials to mature, perfect, and complete us;

      • We all need to know how these things work so we can work right in and through them;

      • We all need to feel the right way about these opportunities for growth and development;

      • We all need to trust God enough to ask for His wisdom; and

      • We all need endurance to overcome trials.

      • So, let’s stop asking God to remove the trials necessary for our perfection, and start thinking, feeling, and doing the right things.


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