A Different Perspective: James 1:1-11


James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings. Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways. The brother in lowly circumstances should take pride in his high standing, and the rich one in his lowliness, for he will pass away “like a flower of the field.” For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass, its flower droops and the beauty of its appearance vanishes. So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits.    James 1: 1-11

 

Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials.

Perspective. Usually, one of the last things we ask for and, the first thing we need for understanding. How many of us have uttered those words, “How can I have joy in my trials?!” I have certainly screamed it at the top of my lungs in the past. Because, like most people, I ascribed to a  “sound-bite theology.”  

 What do I mean by that? Well, take this sound bite for instance; Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials.

It’s instructional, in that it tells you what to do, it just doesn’t tell you how to do it. That’s the danger of sound-bite theology, it can and often does, lead to discouragement and a shipwrecked faith.  Now, if we look contextually at what James is saying here, we will come to an understanding, a “perspective” if you will, on what is being taught here. The joy that should accompany those various trials is the joy that comes with knowing our faith is being tested. Being tested to produce perseverance.

This is where our perspective needs altering. So many times we cry out, “God, if You really loved me, You wouldn’t put me through this!” Instead of crying out, “God, You’ve allowed this in my life, may I bring glory to You.” And yes, it is much easier said than done, but it must be done nonetheless.

For James continues, let perseverance be perfect. This means we must change our perspective on trials, sufferings and temptations, if we are to bring our faith to maturity. In other words, we must cooperate with His grace! 

Most of us American Christians, do not have a proper understanding of trials, sufferings or temptations because we have the wrong image of God. If God would humble Himself to take on human flesh, to be taught in His humanity by parents, relatives and Rabbis, would associate with the sick, lame and sinners more than with the well, able and righteous. Then subject Himself to the accusations and laws of unrighteous humanity, leading to His torture and death, should we not expect the same?! 

A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.  Matt. 10:24    

So this week, let’s change our perspective. Let’s try to see things the way God sees them, not in our own narrow and confining perspective, but in His all-knowing and abundant perspective.

Amen.  

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6 Responses

  1. Great stuff, I like it! I am always stressing the importance of perspective at our church. Glad to see that I am not the only one!! http://www.pastorandrew.wordpress.com.

  2. Thanks, Pastor Andrew for the visit and comment. I’m glad I’m not alone either!

  3. Tim –

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I really like your setup here as well. Also, I read your story about your journey of faith in your “about” section. Great story!

    Grace –

    Joe James

  4. Thanks Joe. Come again soon.
    His blessings,
    Tim

  5. Tim,

    Thanks for your visits to my blog and your encouraging comments. I appreciate your thoughts here on James, one of my favorite books of the Bible. I agree completely that without the perspective of the verses that follow, let alone the perspective of the entire Bible, the idea of “consider it all joy . . . when you encounter various trials” makes absolutely no sense. In the perspective of the purpose of trials, it makes complete sense.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Tom

  6. Thank you Tom for the visit and comment. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and appreciate your thoughts as well.
    Tim

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