Daily Readings & Thought for June 7th. “THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH PRODUCES”
Everything that humans make to be used regularly for some purpose – gets tested to make sure it is good enough for that purpose. James makes this simple yet important analogy at the start of his letter to his fellow Jews: the half-brother of Jesus he became the spokesman for the large congregation of believers at Jerusalem (Acts 15 v. 13-19) The foundation component in the character of a believer is faith – and James makes the point, that each one’s faith has to be tested if it is to become strong. It is essential believers have a positive frame of mind when facing up to the challenges of life which are often challenges to their faith. Now these are sometimes caused by God to put them to the test and to cause their faith to become stronger as a result of overcoming them.
James tells the believing Jews scattered throughout the world (v.1), “Count it all joy , my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” [v.2] This is the foundation component of a Christ-like character. BUT note the point that James then adds, “Let steadfastness have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.” [v.3]
In other words – become so steadfast – so committed to living by faith – that this becomes your permanent frame of mind to carry you through the rest of your life. The essential focus of faith is faith in God – it is the foundation to having a real relationship with him and his son.
If you sense you “lack wisdom” (and who is all-wise?) James says, “let him (or her) ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given … but let him ask in faith, with no doubting…” [v.5,6] The one who doubts is like the waves of the sea “driven and tossed by the wind.” [v.6] However, the more they are in the boat together (with Christ as their captain), the more they will meet the challenges to their faith.
One major proof of possessing a faith that has become strong is the degree you sense you are “working together with God.” [2 Cor. 6 v.1] and that your life is in his hands (see v.16).
Finally, note v.12 in James, “Blessed is the man (or woman) who remains steadfast under trial, for when he (or she) has stood the test they will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those that love him.”