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a. Tough times can teach us perseverance. —Life Application Bible Notes
b. What James is saying is that "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."
c. He is saying that you will know from experience that God will take this difficulty and make you a better person.
d. Faith is like gold; it stands in the test of fire. True faith, like pure gold, endures, no matter how hot the fire.—Bible Knowledge Commentary
C. But Let Patience
1. Again James gives us another key; we have to "let patience have her perfect work."
a. Whether or not we benefit from our trials depends upon us.
b. We must let patience finish its work.
c. James cautions us to observe our attitudes more than our circumstances.
2. James says that if we do this we will be "perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
a. By "perfect" James means mature, perfect, fully developed; full grown, complete, whole.—Practical Word Studies in the New Testament
b. The word does not mean perfect in the sense of becoming a perfect person. The word means perfection of purpose.
c. It has to do with an end, an aim, a goal, a purpose.—Practical Word Studies in the New Testament
d. If we will let him God will take the trials in our lives and use them to bring us to the place where he wants us to be.
e. If we let him do this work we will lack nothing.
Transition: If we let him...
II. God Can Cause Trials to Produce Wisdom (5-8)
A. If Any of You
1. In verse 5 James says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God..."
a. What wisdom is he referring to? The stock market? Relationships? General mechanics?
b. No, wisdom about trials!
c. God has given us his permission that if we do not understand what we are going through we can ask him about it and he’ll tell us.
2. James goes on to say that God "upbraideth not."
a. The word "upbraideth" basically means "without reproach."
b. In other words, God’s not going to get mad because you ask him what’s going on.
c. "If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking" (NLT).
3. Illustration: What loving father is going to get mad when his son asks him to explain something he doesn’t understand?
4. Notice what else James says at the end of this verse - "and it shall be given him."
a. To those who lack wisdom, this valuable resource is available for the asking.
b. Matt. 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
B. But When He Asks
1. However, there is a stipulation on our asking: we have to believe.
2. We cannot doubt, waver, or be negative.
a. If we don’t believe that God is going to deliver, why bother to ask in the first place?
b. To "believe and not doubt" means not only believing in the existence of God, but also believing in his loving care.
c. It includes relying on God and expecting that he will hear and answer when we pray.
d. We must put away our critical attitude when we come to him. —Life Application Bible Notes
3. Look what James has to say about those who doubt.
a. He says they are like a wave of the sea. Completely lacking in stability, it is "blown and tossed by the wind." Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary (2 volumes), Pradis CD-ROM
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