If I were to put a personal label on 2018 it would be the “Year of Pruning”. Ephesians has always been my favourite book of the Bible because that’s the book that started me on my Christian journey. But during 2018 there were so many scriptures from James that the Holy Spirit used to sustain me during the painful but necessary pruning process that I felt led to read the whole Book. As I read, I received so much revelation from the Holy Spirit of God’s mind regarding different facets of our lives. It is these insights that I want to share with you over the next few weeks.
This week the focus will be on James 1:2-8. In the NKJV, the section header is Profiting from Trials but I have divided these verses into 3 subsections – profiting from trials, accessing Godly wisdom and no gain without trust.
Profiting from Trials (James 1: 2-4)
Going through trials tests our faith and helps to perfect us. We need to see trials through God’s eyes. See your trial as a test and be determined to pass the test. Trials don’t mean you have done anything wrong. They are usually just a part of the perfecting process so nothing will be lacking in your character. Trials make you aware of issues in your life that need to be adjusted e.g., pride, fear, anger, unforgiveness, envy. You cannot be perfected without trials. Your trials are of more lasting value to you than your blessings. Trials don’t go away overnight because they are geared towards working patience in you. If patience is required, the trial will be around for a while.
Accessing Godly Wisdom (James 1: 5)
God wants us to be wise – not in our own understanding but walking in wisdom that comes from Him. Consequently, He has given us full and easy access to His wisdom. We simply need to ask Him for it and have no doubt that He will freely give it to us. I have proven Him to be more than willing to give but many times we feel that our wisdom is good enough. Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to lean unto our own understanding but to acknowledge the Lord in all of our ways and He will direct our paths. When we trust in our own wisdom we usually end up heading in the wrong direction. Success in this life cannot be achieved by just depending on our own wisdom. Particularly when we are going through trials. God’s thoughts are much higher than ours and to understand what is happening we need to get His perspective. Not the perspectives of friends or family, which as Job learnt can many times make your trial that much worse. God knows the beginning from the end and we don’t. When we come to this realization and act accordingly our lives will be a blessing to God and to others.
No Gain without Trust (James 1:6-8)
God is grieved when we doubt Him. Lack of trust in God means we are questioning His very character. We doubt His Word so, in essence, we are calling Him a liar and a deceiver. This flies in the face of God. Faith really is believing that what God says in His Word is really so. Trust is built up through relationship, getting to know the other person and building confidence that they will do what they promised because you have experienced it time and time again. The Lord wants us to prove Him. There is no greater test of His faithfulness than when we are going through trials. Many times we ask God for things then by the words of our mouth cancel His ability to give to us because our words indicate that we do not truly believe we will receive what we have asked for.
Are you going through a trial right now? You can pass the test as you access God’s wisdom to see it for what it is, allow it to work Godly character in you, and trust God’s perfect character in the midst of it all. God’s tough love is for His glory to shine through your life!!