Notes on James
James here is encouraging and commanding believers to consider hard times and difficulties as opportunities for joy. This is only a command to someone who has faith in the saving, sovereign power of God and His Son and His Holy Spirit. Otherwise, trials and tests will overwhelm us. The reason we can count them "all joy" is because we don't focus on them, but on our Savior to whom the particular difficulty is "nothing" (Mark 4:39 when Jesus rebuked the winds and waves that had so terrified the disciples). One needs faith to consider life's hard times as joyful, but doing so only increases one's faith!
Opportuniies for Joy
Trials: A Stepping Stone to Perfection
Purpose in Pain
Count it all joy, my brothers,
when you meet trials
of various kinds,
for you know
that the testing ... produces steadfastness.
of your faith
And let steadfastness have its full effect,
that you may be perfect and complete,
Lack Wisdom? Ask God
Ask In Faith
If any [believing brother] ... lacks wisdom,
let him ask God,
who gives generously
and it will be given him.
Doubt Drives the Double-minded
Consequences of Doubting
But let him ask
with no doubting,
for the one [doubting, unfaithful believer]
who doubts is
like a wave
of the sea
that is driven
by the wind.
For that person must not suppose
that he will receive anything
from the Lord;
he is a double- minded man,
in all his ways.
James here is encouraging and commanding believers to consider hard times and difficulties as opportunities for joy. This is only a command to those who have faith in the saving, sovereign power of God and His Son and His Holy Spirit. Otherwise, trials and tests will overwhelm us. The reason we [faith-filled believers] can count them "all joy" is because we don't focus on them, but on our Savior for whom the particular difficulty is "nothing" (See Mark 4:39 when Jesus rebuked the winds and waves that had so terrified the disciples). One needs faith to consider life's hard times as joyful, but doing so only increases one's faith!
ὑπομονή (hypomonē) Strong: G5281 GK: G5705 patient endurance,patient awaiting; a patient frame of mind, patience, ; Jas. 1:3 ; perseverance, ; endurance in adherence to an object; constantly, perseveringly; an enduring of affliction, etc., the act of suffering, undergoing, etc.
How do you move these block labels to the right?
God knows it is counter-intuitive to view our problems as times for celebration. He knows our human flesh will most likely respond with disappointment, tears, discouragement, fear or even anger instead of peace and happiness. It takes a certain level of wisdom and spiritual maturity to be able to look at life's events from His perspective rather than our own human perspective. And if we lack the requisite amount of wisdom, no problem. We only have to confess that to Him and ask Him to provide it. He will do so graciously and generously, not condemning us or belittling us for our need.
Application: I just received a rather large piece of "bad news" - "bad" in the sense that it was not at all the result for which I hoped. I am aware of being disappointed that I did not get the outcome I wanted, but I am not crushed by the news. I'm not quite ready to "slay the fatted calf and invite the family over to celebrate", but I am aware that my heavenly Father already knew this outcome before I even instigated the process. He has already laid out the path that He wishes me to follow, and I trust Him. That trust is bringing me a level of peace that is not humanly possible. And I can see the good in this. Had I gotten what I wanted there was a strong temptation to put my trust in temporal things. With the result He gave, I must trust in Him, knowing He is my good Father who knows what I need and who gives generously to His children. I can't see my way out of this situation, but I can clearly see Him! So I am ready to put on my dancing shoes and sing Lauren Daigle's song 'Trust in You"
Chorus and one verse of 'Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle: When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You! Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings There’s not a day ahead You have not seen So, in all things be my life and breath I want what You want Lord and nothing less