Session 4 – Week 4
This week you are going to read the passage over and over a few times. As you do, you will think about what God is saying to you. Then take a few minutes and put that in your own words. Search your heart to see how this scripture applies to you. Then talk to God about it and how you can apply it to your life here in this moment. This weeks studies will probably be more brief on my part because I will simply post the original scripture, then my paraphrased version, then add a few comments about how I need to apply this to my life. I may also add a few different translations of the passage just to get us thinking.
Will be great to see how God speaks to each one about these passages. It is going to be a great week. Let’s dig in together.
Also, this week we will read the book of James.
James 1:2-4 NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 – Message
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Realize the precious value that there is when you are called to face difficult moments in your life. Disappointments, hurts, rejection, along with many other types of pressure and hardships. These very challenges push you to a deeper place in God. They reveal what is on the inside of you. They develop you and produce God’s work in your life that brings you to a place of growth and maturity. They prepare your life to be complete, and not lacking in any way. They are a gift to you.
I realize as I look through this scripture that I do not often value the difficult moments and yet they are the places I have grown the most. I need to learn to look for God the most, when I feel him the least. He is there working in me.
How can I apply this? What does this look like in my life? Maybe choosing intentionally the next time pressure, or difficulty knocks on my door, to open the door, and say, “thanks for the education, thanks for the opportunity to go deeper.”
Jim Holmes says:January 26, 2014 at 5:57 pm
James is speaking to Christians…to have joy when being tempted. This comes from knowing that it will develop character in you, making you more like Jesus who endured the suffering, being put to death on the cross, for you. Being made more like Jesus, is to know Jesus…as He too was tempted in every way that you are. It is this inner joy, not joy of temptations, but “when” you are tempted, it is “His joy”…the joy of the Lord is your strength. Now know this so that you also will endure…that patience will come out of your enduring faith in Jesus. So be patient during this trial….and you will be fine…becoming perfect like Jesus, wanting nothing, having Jesus, His Father, and the Holy Spirit…one in Him and He in you.
Sue says:January 26, 2014 at 8:15 pm
Recognize the treasure and resource we develop when we go through life’s challenging times … the times when the mountains seem too high, the road too long & difficult and the task too great. It is during these times that what we have allowed God to deposit in us will be exposed. This is when we will know the fruit of endurance & patience in our lives. Like any fruit, it needs to be fully developed to be of value. Picked to quickly it has limited nutrients. It is when it is left to develop in me until fully grown that I receive its full benefit .. it makes me whole and complete.
I frequently come across these challenging times when I look at the task ahead of me and it looks too big, too overwhelming. It is then that I need to realize that this is where perseverance is developed … it will become something of value, something that I can pull on in battle. As I look ahead at this coming year and reflect back on battles lost in the previous year … the challenge looks too large, the wall to overcome looks too high and I’m not sure I want to travel that road again. It wasn’t an easy road … it fact it was totally uncomfortable and I’m not sure I liked the destination. But I’ve overlooked the positives He deposited during that time but might only be seen as I prepare to take up the challenge again. Will I come out stronger if I go forward? There is only one way to find out … in & by faith. I know that ‘stronger’ may look very different than I had imagined and only through obedience will God have His full way with me … making me complete in Him.
Father help me to see the strength you are developing in me. Teach me Your ways, show me Your grace, and teach me to use what You have given me. Thank you for Your patience as I learn to recognize the weapons and the armour for Your kingdom. Thank You for Your love as You gently pick me up and place me back on my feet, telling me to go forward in the battle. You will be right there beside me – leading and directing.
Jim Holmes says:January 26, 2014 at 11:16 pm
Now, that I have done a paraphrase earlier, I want to share with you what I think special about the passage… Here are some of my thoughts in this regard…with somel scriptures that shed additional light…
I find the most exciting part of our church service is when I can come up to you (members of the body of Christ) and give you a hug. This is so wonderful for me and there is an inner heart cry that you would experience Jesus in some special way as you are in my arms…not that I live, but that it might truly be Christ in me, touching you. Not that I am holy, but that He is holy, gentle, loving you…together lost in Him. That is how I think…that truly we are one in Christ. You are my brother, my sister, my mother,…in Christ. You are cherished in Jesus. You are cherished in One Whose name is above every name. I think of this as I think of the following scriptures, and of the paraphrase of the scripture I did a little earlier.
1 Thess. 1:6 says “…ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe…” This scripture points out clearly that as we follow both our paster’s leading, and of the Lord…truly receiving the word (meaning that we obey and do what God is saying), we will suffer affliction, but have joy of the Holy Spirit. We will be show others how to live, being an example to all who believe us….
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith grows exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other abounds; 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Notice that in these scriptures faith grows and love abounds…that God is glorified in the churches because of the faith and patience you have as you go through persecution and tribulation, enduring it all…. Notice that this is a token of something about to happen…that God will judge a righteous judgement…for you are suffering for the kingdom of God…so that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God.(Remember that Jesus also suffered for the kingdom of God…for you…to bring you into His kingdom…to bring you to His Father…to bring you in relationship with Him. Jesus suffered crucifixion.) Having been crucified with Him…should we escape what He went through for us…not knowing suffering…? Through persecution and tribulation we can identify with Jesus…not that we like it…but we love Him that died for us. When Jesus comes we will find rest. Let us obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we have seen earlier, we can have joy in the midst of persecution and tribulation. It is this joy that will carry us through…imparted by the Holy Spirit.
In Hebrews 12:2 we read about Jesus…. “ who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Not only did he glorify His Father but Jesus paid the price for us…giving us back to His Father. He paid the high price for us (the treasure in the field). We are His joy…His bride.
Likewise, Jesus is our Treasure. We are to give our all…for Him. Notice also what 1Thess.2:17 says “But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. 18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.”
Not only Jesus, but you too, are my glory and joy. So all the more, during our morning services, I joy in giving you a warm hug, a smile, wishing you God’s love and blessing. 🙂
Susan Craig says:January 27, 2014 at 12:48 am
When I was young and more immature,when things in my life were not going the way I expected them to, I would get angry with God and go after what God had said no to- even though it was not what was best for me. Because I reacted quickly,impatiently and out of my own flesh, God allowed me to take the hard way through life. In this harder way, were trials and troubles that could have been avoided if I had accepted the leading of the Lord in my life in my youth. Instead I had to face stresses,trials and pressures that came from my own disobedience and my way of thinking that I knew what was best for me. God forgives the sinner and the sin but in His wisdom He does not always remove the consequences of sin from our lives. I believe that He allows trials/troubles to come into our lives to get rid of the wood,hay and stubble that clutters our lives. In the fiery furnace of trials, only the precious metals like gold will come thru it unharmed. There are also pressures that produce precious jewels like diamonds and pearls. It is only when grapes are pressed that wine is produced and pressing the leaves of roses produces the best perfume. Pressure is necessary to produce the finest wines and perfumes. How we react under pressure reveals what we truly are trusting in to get us through life. They are a gift to us that God gives us to refine us and teach us to rely on Him and to trust HIm in everything. When we are in the waiting rooms of life and are under pressure-we learn to wait on God’s strength and His timing-we learn to persevere and not give up. I have learned more from the hard times in life than I ever learned from the easy ones. In the easy times,we start to rely on other things instead of God-our careers,our health,our spouses,our strength,our ability but in the hard times,when we have no option but to turn to God for His strength to endure, we learn what is most important-what has eternal value-and I believe we learn these things best by this method. That is why James is able to say for us to count it all joy when we face trials-those trials are the means by which we draw closer to the Lord and depend on Him for our needs-in those times we find out that He truly is all we need!!
Karen says:January 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm
So this passage challenges me in two areas:
1. Persevere toward maturity
2. Understand that the troubles I face bring that maturity and must be faced wih a joyful attitude.
I LOVE this passage.
Pat McRae says:January 28, 2014 at 12:50 am
KJ OK, Pat, we know patience isn’t your strong point. So here is what I am going to do for you because I love you. I am going to let different tests come your way. I want you to face them with faith in My ability to work through them with you. As your faith in Me is tested, you will see your patience increase. And as your patience increases you will start to recognize My perfect work being displayed in you. With me you are perfect, complete, wanting nothing.
So today I, Pat, am going to count all my tests with great joy because My Daddy has sent His Teacher, the Holy Spirit, to lead me and guide me and His Son, Jesus, will be my strength. YES I can start passing all these tests, not by trying to get out of them but by learning from them what my Daddy wants me to know. His ways not mine nor the worlds.