Summary: The first of six on James. Have you experienced the frustration of living in the twilight of two worlds? There is nothing as difficult as trying keep two opposites separated. Jesus said that you cannot serve both God and the things of man. James descr
The Erratic Existence of the Double-Minded
Have you experienced the frustration of living in the twilight of two worlds? There is nothing as difficult as trying keep two opposites separated. Jesus said that you cannot serve both God and the things of man. James describes the person who has tried to do just that. The double minded person who waves and waffles over every challenge, every decision, and every potential direction for his life. Which way he goes on at depends on the pressures felt at any given moment…
The Wisdom of James
Which James? There are three James in the NT. The first is James who is the brother to John. Since they are best known as the sons of thunder and two of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus we often think that this James wrote the book of James. But Herod killed this James before the book was written.
A second James in the NT is called James the less. “The less” means literally, “the little” This James is also known as the son of Alphaes. This man for a variety of reasons was probably not the author either. Two many facts about his life and the words in the book simply don’t match up.
The last James was the brother of Jesus. Now that comes as a shock to some because they thought that Mary had no other children. She did have other children by Joseph. In fact Paul writes in Galatians that he specifically came to James, the brother of Jesus to report on his mission trip.
This is important because it gives credibility to the words in the book. James was an important leader in the church in Jerusalem. He was the Pastor of the Church In acts Acts 4 there is persecution and opposition. In Acts 15 there is disunity and disharmony. Later we see poverty and distress. And according to Josephus – he was stoned to death in about 69 AD.
James wrote important words to both believers and unbelievers of the Jewish faith all over the world. Words which practical and powerful Words of wisdom and warning…
Life is filled with trouble - Be glad even if you have a lot of it!
Jam 1:2 CEV My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble.
This is Wisdom!?!?!?!!? Is he nuts! No, He’s wise. There is a difference although sometimes it is hard to tell. The reason is simple. Trouble helps us become mature.
Jam 1:3-4 CEV You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything.
The word “glad” means to be cheerful or joyful. This is not happiness. Happiness depends on externals. (The fast sports car, the new promotion, the perfect spouse.) Joy and cheerfulness comes from internals. That is it involves the DECISION on how you will conduct your self as you walk through life. Some people are just plain grumpy all the time and some are joy filled and joyful. That is a decision – not an accident.
Now here is why we James tells us to be EXCEEDINGLY glad EVEN if you have a lot of trouble. (The original text actually means “exceedingly glad ”, “all” or “great joy”.) Are you ready? It’s kind of a progression of thought… Here it is.
Number 1: Trouble tests faith
Number 2: The testing of faith produces endurance
Number 3: Endurance results in maturity
When things are going good you learn nothing about yourself or about your God
It is only through trouble that you test the strength of your faith. Are you strong? Can you stand the cold winds of doubt and fear? What will you do when someone attacks your views toward God?
Trouble exposes the strength or the weakness of our faith and when we successfully survive the trouble; pass the test; stand against the trial we gain a new kind of strength – Endurance.
When I was a kid I used to read comic books secretly. That’s because my mom disapproved of comic books. So, I’d read them over at friends house and I would devour the ads which described how a scrawny kid got sand kicked in his face. If that scrawny kid would just order a kit he could become a muscle bound man of strength and power. I never ordered a kit because I was afraid that my mom would find out… so it’s her fault I’m not a muscle-bound Sylvester Stalone.
There is only one way to go from immature skinny body to mature and powerful person – you have to endure physical exercise. No pain – no gain.
But here is the problem:
It is not easy to remember to be glad when you are facing trouble!