InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Read | James 1:2-8
Greeting to the Twelve Tribes
1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
Profiting from Trials
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The Perspective of Rich and Poor
9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
Loving God Under Trials
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
Qualities Needed in Trials
19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Doers—Not Hearers Only
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Have you ever felt as if your Christian life swings back and forth like a pendulum between faith and doubt? This is a fairly common problem, especially when trying situations come our way. Although we know what God’s Word says, our feelings tell us something totally different.
The question is not if we will experience this, but rather, how long we will remain on one side or the other. Three factors determine whether we lean toward faith or doubt: the strength of our faith at the time of the trial; our knowledge and understanding of God; and our experience with failure or success in past trials, especially those of the same nature.
To help you grow in faith, it’s important to change not only your focus but also your thinking and listening practices.
• Set your mind on God’s promises, not on the impossibility of your situation.
• Trust in His divine nature instead of your feelings about the circumstances.
• Seek to view the difficulty from His perspective instead of giving it your own limited interpretation.
• Listen to the Holy Spirit—not Satan’s whispered lies, which stir up uncertainties.
• Rehearse the Lord’s past faithfulness to you instead of dwelling on your previous failures.
The key to stabilizing faith lies in choosing to believe God, regardless of the situation. Only then will it be possible to bring natural feelings of doubt, anxiety, fear, anger, or confusion into submission to what we know to be true—that the Lord is faithful and will see us through every situation.