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Recap: James 1, How to Pass A Trial



The instructional nature of the book of James makes it one of my favourite in the Bible. Written by James the brother of Jesus, it is simple and clear in telling me exactly how to behave as a Christian. This time around, I wasn't sure what I was getting from it until the Holy Spirit showed me.


James 1:2-4: Coal under pressure produces diamonds.


Trials are a part of life. I know they will come, because no one in the Bible escaped it including Christ himself. On earth he was fully man, so his status as God didn't exclude him. Christ felt pain like we do, so much pain that the Son of God felt abandoned by his father (Matt 27:46). But he showed us how to go through it, to never shy away from it, instead to surrender to our father's will (Matt 26:39) even when the ask is difficult.


Under immense pressure, something dull like coal is refined and purified to produce something beautiful, durable and valuable, diamonds. When I'm patient through the hard times, not focused on an exit or relief, but really go through the process, it produces a better version of me that I may not immediately recognise but is more like Christ. Recently, I saw this when I went through a mini trial and reacted with total surrender to the will of God amidst a storm. Things looked bleak, but I reminded myself that I stand under Open Heavens because the spirit of God lives within me. Until I allowed my flesh to seep in. It started with a mustard seed of doubt and grew to panic. Even when I know how to respond to tough times - in prayer and thanksgiving (Phill 4:6) - I still succumb to my flesh and panic or worry.

I stand under Open Heavens because the spirit of God lives within me.

Here's what I've learnt, though I wasn't strong enough to completely oppose my flesh, I have grown from this experience. The outcome of things, reminded me of the sheer goodness, favour and mercy of God. When I thought God had forgotten me, because he was silent, in reality He had others doing the work for me so didn't need me to do anything. I caused myself un-necessary grief that God didn't plan for me, because I was impatient, because I thought I needed God to ask me to act, as proof he was working. If I had remained in a place of trust, God will have worked out the best outcome for me without me having to do anything. Without auditioning, I made it to the final.


James 1:13: Trials are not a test, they are an opportunity for me to grow.


There is always purpose in the actions of God and testing a mere mortal like me is not one of them. God doesn't need me to prove myself to him, he sent his son to prove himself to me and has never stop doing so through the grace, favour and mercy continuously shows me. I don't have to earn anything and I can get everything without strife. I shouldn't ever have a reason to doubt God because not only does he always show up for me, he consistently surpasses my expectations. I must learn to be comfortable in God's silence because when he needs me to act, he is always clear. God is never really silent, he just does not respond to my demand of when, how and what to speak to me about. To my credit, I wasn't disappointed when seed he didn't ask me to plant yielded no fruit. Getting involved with my circumstances when God has not asked me to is to carry weight I am not equipped for. It will crush me and produce fruits that are not of the spirit - sadness, worry, impatience, stress, anger etc. James 1:17-19 says every good and perfect gift comes from above, so anger, frustration and the like are not of God so I must keep my behaviour in check. Slow to speak so I don't misspeak, slow to wrath because it doesn't produce righteousness so is not beneficial.


Getting involved when God has not asked me to is to carry weight I am not equipped for. It will crush me and produce fruits that are not of the spirit - sadness, worry, impatience, stress.

Wisdom


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths". (James 3:5 - 6). The word of God has everything I need to be guided. As I study it, my prayer is that I retain it and apply it when required, because that is the true test of understanding. Knowing how and when to apply knowledge. (James 1:22-25)


Practice makes me stronger, so I must show myself grace on this journey. Every trial, I am purified a little more by the Holy Spirit and I become a little more like Christ.

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