Hand in Hand: Confidence in God (James 1:1-8)
James The Man:
Brother of Jesus
Follower after Resurrection
James the Book:
Written like Proverbs
Works and Faith go hand in hand.
James 1:1-8, NIV 2011 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Trials are signs of God’s work among and within us.
James 1:2-3, NIV 2011 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
1 Peter 1:6-7, NIV 2011 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed
We must finish the course to see the work completed.
James 1:4, NIV 2011 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Hebrews 5:7-11, NIV 2011 7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Romans 5:1-5, NIV 2011 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Seeing the work completed means that we have asked, believed, and trusted God’s plan.
James 1:5-8, NIV 2011 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Colossians 4:6, NIV 2011 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
How do you tend to view “trials”? Do you consistently view them as from God as a means of blessing or punishment?
Read James 1:2-4. What do you sense James means by “consider it pure joy”? Why would saying it this way be so shocking to our system as believers?
How does James speak to the idea that our trials are really the result of having faith not the absence of it? (consider 1 Peter 1:6-7)
If the presence of trials are for the purpose of producing perseverance to lead us to become “mature and complete, lacking nothing”, then what are some ways that we can begin to view our trials as God’s refining process?
Read James 1:5-8. James encourages his listeners to “pray for wisdom” when they know they are lacking it. What are some reasons that we fail to pray for wisdom? What does James say to respond to that?
Read Psalm 25:4-5, Proverbs 1:2-4; Proverbs 4:5-9. What do these passages say about Wisdom and our need of it? How do they speak to our need to trust God with his plan and direction?
Think about this quote from the 16th Century theologian John Calvin, ““Since we see that the Lord does not so require from us what is above our strength, but that he is ready to help us, provided we ask, let us, therefore, learn, whenever he commands anything, to ask of him the power to perform it.” As you consider this quote, ask God some questions:
What trials have you brought me through up to this point in my life? (e.g. death of a parent, loss of a sibling, job restructuring or loss, diagnosis of cancer, uncertain about future plans, etc.)
How long did it take for me to feel as if I had “come through it”? What was different on the other side? What did I learn about myself? What did I learn about You?
What am I going through right now? Does it look anything like any other previous trials? What do I need to be reminded about during this time?