Purifying Our Faith
A Commentary on James
I have heard it said that the book of James is for mature Christians. I think
this is true. You cannot be a baby Christian and do what James says that we
must do. James requires faith, humbleness, meekness, patience, ability to
control our tongues, being a doer of the word not a hearer only. Not much
rambling, not many examples are given or needed. Christians who stand out from
the crowd, no longer babies that must be nursed and coddled, the mature
Christian is the very image of Christ. When reading the gospels of Matthew,
Luke, John and Mark I often wondered....Well I know Jesus did these things, am
I to do the same? Can I do the same? Will I be held to this standard of the
James begins in verse 2 to get to the heart of the matter, he wastes no time with
flowery speeches. He is speaking to the twelve tribes of Israel.
My brothrs count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations; knowing
that the trying of your faith worketh patience, But let patience have her
perfect work, thay you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
What does all this mean?
According to Strong's Concordance:
- Diverse temptation--diverse adversity
- patience-cheerful endurance
- perfect-of full age, man, perfect
So lets rephrase this so that we can better understand what is really being
Count it all joy when you fall into diverse adversity knowing that the trying
of your faith accomplishes cheerful endurance, but let patience have her
perfect work (deed, doing, labour) that you may be of full age and complete,
James is saying that the diverse temptations equals the trying of your faith.
I say that I have faith like Abraham, the father of our faith, has faith.
Saying that I have faith is easy, simple to do. Anyone can say that they have
faith. But when your faith is tried, when you go through the fires of life and
come out with a better, purer, stronger, tougher faith than when you began then
you know you really have faith. I say that come what may I know that God
is with me, I never walk alone, But when thinks get tough, when things get
hard, when things don't work my way, the bills are high and the money is low,
when sickness, disease and death are all around me. When strife, anger,
indecision, and fear live in my house. When everywhere I turn I see the works
of Satan. When I want to ask God Why? Why? When my prayers are not being
answered. What do I do? Do I cry I cry "God, why have you forsaken me?" Do I
curse God. Do I blame God? Do I turn away, do I try and fix it myself? Do I
think that God is wrong, that God cannot handle this?
Count it all joy when you fall into diverse adversity, knowing that the trying
of your faith accomplishes (cheerful) (implied) endurance, but let patience
have her perfect labour, that you may be of full age (perfect) and entire
(complete) wanting nothing.
James says count it all joy, knowing, not thinking or considering,
knowing that the trying of my faith accomplishes patience. Knowing that
diverse adversity is the fire that purifies your faith. Like smelting silver.
There is a lot of stuff that goes into the fire, that looks like silver,
smells like silver, that calls itself silver . But once it goes into the fire
all that is not true silver burns up, it is lost, gone. The fire, the heat, the
burning, is the test that determines the true silver.
Many times we claim that we are Christians but when it gets hot we are not too
sure. When it gets hot, we get uncomfortable not only with ourselves, but we
get uncomfortable with God.
Example: My son Nate never had a problem when I left him to go somewhere. To
dinner, daycare, with friends, with family NEVER, I would see other children,
kicking, screaming, calling, yelling for their mothers. Not Nate. "Bye Mom,
see you later." "Bye Mom, I love you." Nathaniel knew that I would be back. He
was confident that no matter what it looked like, when I was going out that
door, on my way, apparently in the eyes of a small child, forgetting him,
leaving him behind, I am his Mom and I will not forget him ever. I will be
back. He never lets it worry him at all.
Can we say the same thing? When the heat is getting higher and hotter can we
say that God has not forgotten us? God is faithfull to those who were called into
the fellowship of his son Jesus Christ our Lord. No weapon formed against me
shall succeed. Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. My
God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ
Jesus. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart
of man, the things that God hath prepared for us that love Him.
When it gets hot do we run, do we hide, do we curse, what do we do? Your
faith, in its purest form, knows the heart of God. It never doubts, it never
fears, it endures. Oh yes! When the pan finally comes out of the oven the
truly faithful remain. The pan is much lighter, the faithless are gone. Only
the faithful remain. When the heat comes, I will endure. It is a perfect
labour. I, as a mature Christian, will be perfect, full and complete wanting
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