Main point summary
Rejoice in your trials because you know this is the way to spiritual maturity! In your trials (1) ask God for wisdom without doubting, ( 2) consider the end of your pursuits, (3) do not blame God the giver of all which is good, in particular the new life he has given to us by the word of truth. Therefore let this implanted word have its full effect: You will be saved and blessed (1) by listening to it, (2) by receiving it meekly (3) and consequently by doing it, because unless your faith leads to compassion and holiness it is worthless.
a James, a servant 1 of God and b of the Lord Jesus Christ, To c the twelve tribes in d the Dispersion: Greetings.
James to the dispersed :
e Count it all joy, my brothers, 1 when you meet trials f of various kinds, for you know that g the testing of your faith h produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be i perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Rejoice in your trials because you know this is the way to spiritual maturity!
j If any of you lacks wisdom, k let him ask God, l who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But m let him ask in faith, n with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like o a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; p he is a double-minded man, q unstable in all his ways.
Objection 1: You do not know what to do or say in your trial? Ask God for wisdom without doubting.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and r the rich in his humiliation, because s like a flower of the grass 1 he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and t withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. u Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive v the crown of life, w which God has promised to those who love him.
Objection 2 : You lack motivation to endure in your trial? Consider the end of your pursuits - exaltation, blessedness and life for the humble who endure, humiliation for those who seek worldly riches.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire x when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and y sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. z Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from a the Father of lights b with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 1 c Of his own will he d brought us forth by the word of truth, e that we should be a kind of f firstfruits of his creatures.
Objection 3: You think your trial is unfair? Do not blame God when tempted - only good comes from our pure father, in particular the new life he has given to us by the word of truth.
g Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person h be quick to hear, i slow to speak, j slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore k put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with l meekness the implanted word, m which is able to save your souls.
Therefore let this implanted word have its full effect: You will be saved and blessed (1) by listening to it - instead of talking a lot and getting angry, (2) by receiving it meekly
But be n doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, o the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, p he will be blessed in his doing.
(3) and consequently by doing it
If anyone thinks he is religious q and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s r religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction, and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
because unless your faith leads to compassion and holiness it is worthless.
When thinking about rejoicing in our trials, there are at least those three objections which tend to come up and must be coped with: I do not know what to do about my situation. I do not know the right way out of this trial. I lack wisdom . James instructs us, that if we ask God without doubting, he will answer our prayer - without any doubt. Doubting is not mainly an intellectual problem but it has to do with a lack of total commitment to God and His ways. And this has to do with a lack of trust in his goodness and power. So let us treat this problem at the root: a heart which is not totally committed to God. Again and again the word leads us to repent and find back to a sincere and pure devotion to Christ (2Cor 11:3). I do not find the motivation to endure my trials. I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. James already gave as a great motivation in V.4: And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. In V.9-12 he gives even more reasons to endure: If we try to escape our trials and find pleasure in the riches of this world it will lead to destruction. But if we endure we will be exalted at His time (1Peter 5:6) and blessed with eternal life. I doubt God's fairness . Why is He leading me into this situation? Why is He tempting me? Why is he allowing me to fail? James makes us understand how temptation and failing come about: First by being enticed by one's own sinful desire, then when someone gives in (with his will) to this sinful desire, the act of sin is born as a result. Then when sin has grown - which it will do if one does not deal with it - it results in eternal death - as opposed to eternal life. Understanding this dynamic should keep us from playing with sin. No, God is not unfair to us: Everything which is good comes from our pure father, the best of all his gifts: He has given us spiritual birth by means of the word of truth so that we should be the first of the new creation - pure light like our father. When gloomy thoughts arise in the midst of trials, let us fight them with the truth of God's word: Let us be devoted to Christ and see the glory of what he has started in us and what He will bring to perfection one day!