Since the foundation of the church, Christians have faced various trials. Our founder, the Chief Cornerstone, Jesus Christ was first persecuted and then murdered. Christ fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They hated Me without a cause” and He warned His disciples ”If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”
It is clear then that our faith will be tested. There will be seasons that are lighter than others, but make no mistake, brethren, your faith will be tested. Testing produces patience which has a perfect work to complete and we should ask for wisdom from God when we are tested.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Brethren, Your Faith will be Tested (vv2-3)
“Brethren” is a Christian term of endearment that refers to the entire church including men, women, and children. It conveys a sense of closeness that Christians have with one another. There is no question that we will fall into various trials; as a church, as families, and as individuals. The real question is how you will handle these various trials. James says that we should count it all joy, but not without reason. Various trials will test your faith making it solid. The phrase “Various Trials” tells us that there are all sorts of unexpected struggles in this life, and plenty of them, that Christians must face with joy. Trials will come from the inside and on the outside:
1. Outside- can be social and economic persecution, financial hardships, illness, relationship problems, etc.
2. Inside- Moral temptations to sin, a struggle with the old you
Joy is more than a smile on your face, it is something that is known in the soul/mind.
That is why you can face various trials with joy. It is because you know what you have in Christ and what the future will bring!
Patience’s Perfect Work (v4)
Trials will come and they will test your faith. If you persevere through them then the testing produces patience. An old preacher has said, “Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us.” Patience will make you perfect and complete and you will not lack any good thing that you spiritually need. When patience has done its work everything that is needed both in our Christian race and in our spiritual warfare will be supplied. Patience carries the idea of perseverance and so the real question in the midst of testing is “Will your faith persevere (be patient)?” We are talking about spiritual stamina. It is not how long you can actively resist or passively submit to circumstances though, it’s a strong, active, challenging response in which the principles of your spiritual, Christian life are exercised and thus strengthened.
Persevering is about strengthening the faith you already have, not testing the genuineness of your faith. This patience that is produced is going to do something. It is not an end in itself but is going to have its work. This work is a process that leads to maturity or should we say spiritual excellence. By saying that the Christian will be “perfect and complete” is to say that person will be mature and well-rounded (thoroughly equipped). Patience (Perseverance) produces sound character. Our goal is spiritual excellence. Therefore, we must have patience, knowing that all trials and sufferings are under the providential reign of God Almighty who is our Father.
Asking of God (vv5-8)
During testing there is a time when we lack wisdom. Wisdom is one of the most valuable virtues that we can lack. And it is God-given wisdom that is needed. Wisdom is understanding the nature and purpose of trials and knowing how to successfully challenge them. The grammar of the original language teaches us that we must ask repeatedly. We should not pray as much for the trial to be removed as we should for wisdom so that we can make good use of the trial. We must pray!
Proverbs 2:2-5 “So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.”
There is nothing in God that keeps Him from giving generously. His practice is to give without finding fault. His children are not rebuked for asking nor demeaned for needing Him.
God gives to His children when they ask. Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
You must ask in faith and not doubt. If you doubt then you are like a wave that is controlled by external forces and pushed here and there with no say in the matter. There is no stability and there is no satisfaction. If we ask and don’t receive it’s not b/c of God but because of our unbelief (doubleness). Matthew 21:21-22 “if you have faith and do not doubt…whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Our soul must be steadfast, grounded, truly anchored by trust in God. God rewards faith, which is non-meritorious b/c it is God who works while we trust.
The one who doubts is double-minded. The “double-souled” person is torn and unstable when he prays and in fact in everything he does (“all his ways”). Double-souled shows the depths of the division within the doubter. James does not describe a person who has a rare, brief sniff of doubt, but the one who lives a life full of instability, incompleteness, and indecisiveness. God seeks single-minded devotion. Jesus said, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” It is obvious that God seeks single-minded devotion. Even the Psalmist says, “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!”
Brethren, your faith will be tested, but count it as pure joy because patience is being produced. Patience is not an end in itself because it will have its perfect work which is to make you spiritually mature and of sound character, and you will lack nothing that you spiritually need.
If you lack wisdom then ask God to give it to you because He knows how to give good gifts to His children. When you ask of God do not be double-minded, one moment patiently enduring and the next passionately sinning. There is no way that attitude will allow you to receive anything from the Lord
There is no doubt that we will fall into various trials that will test our faith. This is what is needed to strengthen our faith. It is not about validating our faith, it is about reinforcing our faith in Jesus Christ. So count it as joy going into it and ask for wisdom during it!