James Chapter 1
It is very hard to count it joy when we fall into temptations. Divers means different. These could very well mean trials and tribulation rather that the temptation to sin. I can't see us rejoicing over being tempted to sin or in trials and tribulations. We must rejoice that God is able to deliver us and be with us through all situations we may face in this life.
We may go through the same hardships that those who do not believe go through, (the rain falls upon the just and the unjust), but the ones who believe have confidence that the Lord will keep and preserve their souls. We have a comforter, a deliverer, a shelter, an inner peace that is beyond the understanding of the natural mind and we have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
The trying of faith works patience. Things may happen to see if we really believe or not. Do we serve God only when things are going great? There are two kinds of people, those who only turn to God when they do have trouble but when things are okay, they live for their own pleasure and neglect the spiritual. On other hand there are those who praise God and serve Him when times are good but when they are persecuted or troubled in any way they turn aside and murmur and complain against God.
We cannot blame God for our situations. In the book of Job we see that it is Satan that comes to God and seeks permission to tempt Job. Satan is the one who desired to tempt Job, not God.
Also some things come to us because of our own wrong choices. We sometimes do not listen to the warnings of the word of God or the voice of the Holy Spirit and we do what we think is right instead of what really is right. Sometimes we make an error in judgment that results in trouble. For instance, if we over spend and live beyond our means, we may suffer financial hardship. So we do cause some of our own problems.
Some things come because of the gospel's sake and those that oppose the gospel may try to stop us. Then we see that some things happen for reasons we may not understand. Through it all though, the Lord promises us that if we are believers in Him there is nothing that will be too hard that we can't possibly overcome it.
This is why constant prayer for guidance is necessary in our daily walk with the Lord. That is a wonderful thought. When we are "In Christ", we can then start to walk with Him.
Sometimes the the song "We will understand it better by and by," doesn't always apply in every situation. Verse 5 here tells us plainly that if we lack wisdom and understanding, God promises to give us understanding. If we don't believe this according to verse six then we are not asking in faith. He says here that God will give us wisdom and understanding if we seek Him and ask for it. To me this is the exact opposite of "We will understand it better by and by."
If we are satisfied to wait until the coming of the Lord to understand, fine but if we are determined to understand, here is the promise that God gave through His servant, James, that we can ask and expect God to give us wisdom. I didn't say this, The Word here in the book of James declares this.
Jesus upbraids His disciples more for unbelief than for anything else. Unbelief is the biggest hindrances to lack of answered prayer. There may be some things that we ask that may be against God's will but some unanswered prayer is because we simply do not believe that God will answer it. We find this when we pray for healing. It is so hard for us to realize that God wants to heal. Getting that through to our heads is hard.
We keep thinking well, maybe it is God's will that we be sick for some reason only known to Him. If that's the case, the above verse 5 should cause us to ask Him for wisdom and understanding. Why would He want us sick? Do we want our children to be sick? When they are sick, don't we desire to get them well as soon as possible and yet we think God who loves us more than we love our children, wants us to be sick.
It is Satan who kills, steals, and destroys. He is the one who wants us sick so that we can't preach the gospel. He is the one who tries to stop us. God is planning to give believers eternal life with bodies that cannot get sick and die so my conclusion is that it is the will of God for us to be healthy because that is His final goal for all who believe. Why some die when we pray for them, I don't yet know but I do believe that according to verse 5 we can ask God for wisdom in these things.
I have seen cases where people would not serve God or acknowledge Him until they got sick and their lives were in danger. Yet, in other cases, I've heard of some who had no fear of God even on their death beds and died that way. There is many things we do not know but it is okay to ask God for wisdom and expect Him to give us understanding of spiritual things.
Until we do understand all things though, we must walk in faith and trust Him to know best but at no time should we ever think God does not want to heal the sick or that God has stopped healing. When someone is healed though let us remember to give God the glory and thank Him and not give glory to the person who does the praying. We try to rob God of glory far too much. It is not an organization or person, it is God who heals when He sees our faith.
One final note on that subject is that those who die in the Lord and are with Him are healed now. They can't ever be sick again. I had a relative who was sick and even died. Someone prayed for him to be revived and come back. He did come back but he asked, "Why did you bring me back, I was in such a beautiful place?" Once they have passed over on the other side, they do not want to come back. According to some that have seen heaven, it is nothing compared to anything here.
I will add though, it is prepared for those who accept God's plan of salvation and recognize their need to be saved. Only through the faith in the sacrifice Jesus made for our salvation can we possibly be saved. If we don't recognize ourselves as sinners in need of salvation and don't believe in God's plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ then heaven will not be a place for us.
We don't go to heaven by doing good deeds and being good to our fellow human beings although we should do those things. We are saved by trusting in Jesus Christ and believing in Him, period. We have to repent and turn from our own ways and turn our lives over to His ways accepting His righteousness and recognizing that we have no righteousness good enough to save ourselves.
We cannot receive anything from God if we don't believe. For some reason, God expects faith.
Have you ever noticed how unstable we become if we are troubled and undecided about something? Yet, as soon as we make up our minds, we feel better. If we can just get to the point where we just believe. Just trust in our Lord, that pleases God more than anything.
How would we feel if we told our children something and they kept coming to us day after day asking us if we really meant what we said? Or even worse, how would we feel if we told them something and they said, "I don't believe you really mean that." When we read a verse or a promise in the bible, how do you think God feels if we question it and say, "Well maybe that was just for the apostles in that day and not for us." Or we may say, "That doesn't really mean what we think it means?" "We can't take that literally." "This part of the bible is true but that couldn't be." This type of thinking brings confusion and an unstable mind. Faith brings comfort, assurance and strength.
To God we are all the same, a servant is not lower than the master, the rich are not higher than the poor. The African Americans, Native Americans, Caucasians, etc. are all the same and not one race is exalted above the other. In the coming kingdom of heaven, the meek and lowly believers in Jesus Christ will be the ones exalted not those that are high-minded. We pass by so quickly, why not live every moment in the fellowship of our Lord.
To resist temptation, to endure to the end should always be our goal. We should never excuse bad behavior with, "Well, I'm only human." Repentance is the only true way to handle faults and sins. To turn around, turn from and accept the strength God provides in the giving of His Holy Spirit to overcome temptation and evil. Look at verse 12. To overcome and resist temptation will bring everlasting reward. We can overcome sin by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
What did Jesus tell His disciple in the garden? "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation." We don't have to sin. We don't have to lust after someone else's spouse besides our own. We don't have to covet. We don't have to yield to the evil that is in the world. We have the power in the Holy Spirit to cast down imaginations and every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We can overcome.
Verse 13 says that God is not the one that does the tempting. Lets quit blaming God for every thing that comes our way. It is Satan that desires to kill, destroy and work evil among us. Satan wants us to follow his ways and be separated from our Lord. He knows what his end is to be and he desires to take us with him. However, he has no power greater than the blood of Jesus and our faith in Jesus Christ.
We are tempted with our own weaknesses and our own lusts. We through the spirit can conquer those weak things and overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. We have to recognize the weakness and not excuse it as human but repent and get victory over it. Resist the devil and he will flee. For example, there would be no reason to waste time tempting me to get drunk or drink strong drink. That would not even be a temptation to me. I have never had that desire. He would bother me with something that I would desire. To others the temptation to drink would be their weakness and Satan could use it to destroy them.
To give into temptation is to allow the temptation to bring forth sin, sin will then bring forth death.
Every good gift comes from God the Father of light. He changes not. We need to get it through our heads that God desires to save the lost. After that He desires that we are fruitful. He is out for our good, not our destruction.
Of His own, those that come to Him, those that belong to Him, those that abide in Him will He beget in them the Word of truth. We are the first fruits of His creatures. Eye has not seen nor the ear heard what God has prepared for them that Love Him. The pleasures of this life, the temptations, and life without God is not worth it. Life here is so swift. We need our God. Our goal should be life everlasting and to walk close to Him.
Verse 19 is good advice. This will keep us out of trouble. Swift to hear but slow to speak, slow to anger will keep us from making serious mistakes and from saying words which wound and can't be taken back. A person quick to answer back, quick with his words and who always get the best of a debate is admired by most people but not necessarily admired by God. To think carefully before speaking is the way the bible teaches us to be, both in the Old and the New Testament. Anything else does not work the righteousness of God.
This is why I very seldom watch debates. The quick talker, the clever, eloquent speaker is admired more than the one who is slow to answer. According to the bible that is not the one to admire. There are quiet, shy and reserved people out there who may have something of value to say but they would not be good in debating because they hesitate and are slow to speak, yet they may have words of wisdom that may be profound.
I love to hear good spirit anointed preachers but then we can't assume that those that talk fast and get all emotional are anointed. Some of them are but I've heard some that if their speech were analyzed it would amount to empty words. Those who speak slowly and do not get excited may be just as anointed as those that show excitement. We sometimes look at the wrong things. It is the message that counts not the emotion. Some people are emotional and will preach that way so we can't assume they are not anointed but the emotion is not the anointing, it is the words spoken that matters.
Lay aside filthiness, receive the Word, The Word will save the other does not.
Be doers of the word and not just hearers. This is true religion. our actions reflect how we believe. If we love God, we will obey God. Take heed how we hear. Remember the parable of the sower and the seed. We can receive the word by the way side, among thorns, on hard ground or we can receive the word on the good ground of our hearts and it will bring forth fruit unto life eternal. He that hears and does not let it bring forth any fruit in his life is like someone who looks at himself in the mirror and then forgets what he saw as soon as he leaves the mirror.
Blessings from the Lord come when we continue faithfully in the Word. When we receive the word, we are to continue in the word and build upon it. The true believer is one who continues in what He believes. It is not one who is saved from sin one time and then does not continue in the fellowship and communion with God on an every day basis.
One who gossips, a backbiter, and talebearer has a vain religion. Speak not evil of one another. Talking behind a person's back does not restore a wayward believer, it does not help the person being talked about and it does far more evil than good.
This is a good verse and is taught by many: To help the widows, the fatherless and the poor. This does not save the soul by itself apart from Christ but Christians who do these things are reflecting the true religion that is in their hearts.
While studying this verse we must not neglect the second part of it. I rarely hear the second part of this verse taught as much as the first part. True religion is also keeping oneself unspotted from the world. We cannot love the world and love God at the same time. They will conflict. True religion will not love sin, will not have idols, and other loves above the love for the Lord and His word. True religion is simply, "Thou shalt love the Lord God with all thy soul, with all thy heart and all thy mind," and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
If we can keep those two commandments, we can keep the whole bible.
If we love our neighbor as ourselves, we would not covet their goods, lust after their spouses, defraud them in business, or steal, kill, or see them do without necessary things. If we love God with all our hearts, we would not want to have any other loves before Him, take His name in vain, take the Holy things of God lightly or neglect His Word.
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