Thursday, October 29, 2009

Temptations (James 1:13-18)

James 1:13-18 is all about the temptations that we face. It goes to say that life brings temptations in various forms and it is crucial that we have a proper view or understanding of the temptations we face.

(v13) GOD DOESN´T TEMPT: This verse is very straight forward. God doesn´t tempt anyone. It sounds like when James wrote this letter that one problem the early church was having was that the people were blaming God for their temptations. We should have a correct view of who our God is. He cannot be tempted by evil. I love the passage in 1 Timothy 6:15b-16 that says " He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the KING of kings and the LORD of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen." Our God dwells in unapproachable light and we should never dare to associate Him with the evil in our lives. All that said, don´t associate our God with our temptations, it brings Him lower than what is His rightful position.

(v14) WE´RE THE PROBLEM: We need to take responsibility for our own sin. It´s the lust of our flesh that entices and carries us away.

(v15) RECOGNIZE THE SERIOUSNESS OF SIN: The order of sin is that lust first takes over. Once the lust has convceived or given birth then sin comes forth. In practical terms this is when we allow our lusts to drive us so far as to commit the act of sin. Next, once sin is accomplished or perfected, death is brought forth. It is somewhat difficult to know exactly what the term death implies, however the Greek means death of the body, implied misery in hell, or the body in hell. Many people will argue that once you´re saved your salvation is eternal and secure. I don´t know the answer but I do know that if you are living in sin you should be very afraid of the wrath of God. I believe the Bible leaves the question of secure salvation somewhat unclear for a reason.

(vv16-18) CORRECT VIEW OF THE FATHER: Do not let the Enemy deceive you into believing that God is anything but perfect and holy. ¨Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.¨ Not only does God give us cool stuff but He has saved us (v18) by the word of truth. Technically said, He has given birth to us. Remember the awesome salvation and call that we have through Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 1-3). God is good, let´s not think otherwise.

Conclusion: I believe in summing up this section of scripture it would be fair to say that we need to have a correct view of the Father. Not only during our temptations but during everyday life. Knowing the character of God is vital for believers. When things are looking bad and we have no where else to turn we need to remember that our God has our best interest in mind. Even when it hurts us!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trials (James 1:1-12)

James 1:1-12 is all about the trials that we face in life. As believers trials are a reality. Trials come in various forms: financial, other people, accidents, sickness, etc. We all know that life gets hard and trials come, but what´s the purpose behind them? Why doesn´t God just take them away? In this section of James, we have a hand book on trials.

(v2) HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE: Trials are a cause for joy not a cause to feel bad for yourself. We have to be happy during our trials? No! Joy is not always connected with a happy feeling. Joy is knowing that God has our best interest in mind and that He has not lost the power to deal with our problems. It´s kind of related to peace.

(vv3-4) HAVE THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE: Not only should we have joy during our trials but we should have an understanding of what trials do for and in us. Trials produce Endurance: (Hupomone) steadfastness, constancy, endurance, a patient and steadfast waiting for, a patient enduring, sustaining and perservering. Also trials bring a believer to be Complete: (Teleios) brought to it´s end, finished, full-grown, adult, of full age, mature. Without trials we would be lacking in certain areas of our spiritual life.

(vv5-8) KNOW YOUR OPTIONS: Trials can get tough and James tells us that ¨if any of you lacks wisdom (concerning trials), let him ask God, who gives to all generously and without reproach.¨ God will give us the wisdom during our trials if we ask Him in faith. A definition of faith is seeing it the way God does. When we ask we must not doubt and when God gives us the wisdom we must conform our view to His.

(vv9-11) TRIALS SHOW NO FAVORITES: This sections is somewhat difficult to understand but I believe all that James is trying to say is that trials show no favorites. That they fall on both the rich and the poor.

(v12) REWARD: It´s a big help during our trials if we can keep our eyes fixed on the prize. Here James tells us that the man who perserves under trials is blessed. ¨Once he has been approved he will receive the Crown of Life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.¨ This is the same Crown of Life mentioned in Rev 2:10-11. Let us be faithful ¨...even unto death¨ and He will give us the crown of life.

Conclusion: We must know that we shouldn´t always try and find the quick way out of our trials. God just might be trying to perform a work in us. Let´s take the truths from this passage and apply it to our lives today.

New Series of Blogs

There hasn´t been much new going on lately, therefore I haven´t been putting up any new material on my blog site. However, I´ve been studying through James and I want to post the things I´ve been learning. Not only that but also the things that I will be putting into practice. Many times we read the Bible and discover truths but we don´t change. These 11 posts will stand as helpers for me, not only to remember what I've learned but to remember to live it as well.

The book of James has 11 subjects or themes. So I will be putting up 11 posts over the next couple of weeks. Hope you enjoy and also that you are challenged along with me.