by, Jan 23rd 2010 at 06:37 AM (1272 Views)
Temptation and a Crown
With verse twelve, we reach a point that looks backwards and forwards in the letter. It looks back to verse two and the command to joyfull endure trials so that our faith can be grow and be strengthened. If we don't understand the situation, we should seek the wisdom that God freely gives. But, the one praying must really believe that God will give him what he asks for. If the one praying suffers serious doubt that God can or will grant this, and he continually doubts than the prayer will not be answered. God demands a faith that contually expresses itself, and is faithful towards all the God is and does.
This admonition looks forward to what is expected from the reader throughout the letter. The reader must continually meditate on the word given, must express his faith in the right actions, must learn to control his tongue and the passions it can release, and they must control those passions that cause them to fight and argue among themselves; this sounds like the Corinthian Church all over again. Finally, the reader must humble himself before God so that God will lift him up. The christian overcomes when he matures and produces the fruit of the Spirit; when his faith becomes active.
Earlier, James said to 'Count it all joy...' when facing various trials, now a blessing is pronounced on the one who wins through his tests and trials. The joy of trials now becomes the blessing of victory. The end of the process is in site, here;
...when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
The joy reachs beyond this life to all eternity. In another context, Romans 5:1-8, Paul speaks of Hope grown and watered by the love of God; a love we know because God first loved us, He saved us while we were yet lost in sin. It begins in this life, as Paul points out, and through our growth the Hope burns into eternity through God's love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The beautiful thing about James 1:12 is that it blesses the one who joyfully, faithfully, prayerfully and with all of God's wisdom perseveres through all of their trials and remain faithful for all of his life.
Following on the heels of James talk on 'rich vs. poor', it reinforces the idea of perseverance through all of the trials of life. Scripture acknowledges that rich and poor alike have their own struggles with the material wants and needs of this world:
Proverbs 30: 7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
Matthew 6: 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
No matter what our situation in life, perseverance with joy is the command from God. It is not a bitter trail of tears, but a rough road, a narrow way to life; but we must be sure to watch our heart and to remember prayer that connects us to God who will provide us with all we need whether it be bread and clothing, or wisdom to understand and deal with whatever situation we are in.
Philippians 4:11...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.