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October 22, 2013

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 22 October 2013

James 1:5-8 teaches that followers of Christ Jesus must seek wisdom from God to endure afflictions and difficulties that threaten to overpower and overwhelm, and to “ask in faith without any doubting” (Jas 1:6). Genuine faith in God is complete commitment to Him in trusting obedience, and such trust is evident in how we perceive the Source of true value and worth (Jas 1:9-11).

Divine wisdom provides a true perspective regarding life, that is, one that is contrary to the wisdom of the world (Jas 3:13-18). Where do you tend to seek wisdom, both in making important decisions and in managing daily issues of life? What should we do if we lack wisdom? Scripture tells us that we should “ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach” (Jas 1:5).

1 Corinthians 2:12, 14 – Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God. . . . But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness . . . because they are spiritual appraised.

True wisdom is not found in the communal judgment of the culture, or in personal experience, or in secular philosophies; rather, God alone is the source of all true wisdom.

Proverbs 2:6 – For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

1 Corinthians 3:19 – For the wisdom of the world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”;

Therefore, the one who seeks wisdom will find it in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. God’s wisdom allows one to understand how the Lord is involved in the daily issues of life. Consequently, trials need not be regarded as hindrances, but as divine opportunities to become wise.

The word “trial” was not used throughout the book of James; however, the concept is continued. One manner in which one can understand the Christian life is to regard every life experience as a test to demonstrate one’s professed faith/trust in the Lord Jesus. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Cor 13:5). Therefore, the book of James exhorts the believer to vindicate his/her faith before others by demonstrating the reality of that trust.

Throughout the book of James, there are many dynamics expressed that evidence the testing of one’s faith in God. The Word of God is compared to a mirror, which reveals one’s true nature (Jas 1:22-25). The outworking of faith in God is demonstrated in several dynamics: the manner in which we regard others (2:1); the productivity of our lives (2:17); the use of our tongue (3:2; 4:11); our personal desires (4:1-3); and, even in our business practices (4:14-15). Through the use of these various illustrations, the primary emphasis of the book is conveyed: faith in God, which is genuine, will endure and mature.

The one who endures various trials will be approved, and blessed to receive a divine reward (Jas 1:12). The imagery of the Christian life as a race, in which (at the finish) one receives a “crown of life” that endures forever, is expressed throughout the New Testament (e.g. 1 Cor 9:24-25). The crown is eternal life, which is the common inheritance of all those who persevere in obedience and faith until being welcomed into the presence of God (Rev 2:10).

God does indeed cause trials in the life of His people (Gen 22:1; 2 Chron 32:31); however, in such situations, one must not blame God for the evil effects of those trials (Jas 1:13-16). God is not responsible for human sin for He is the source of all that is good (1:17-18). God’s goodness is evident in that He does not change (1:17) and in his revealing “the word of truth” that brings new life to those who trust in Him (1:18). Surely, the Lord God can be trusted for He is faithful and His intentions are always good. We have no excuse for a diminished faith in either action or thought. May this brief study from God’s Word encourage you to endure various trials, and thereby experience the blessing and approval of God—by his grace and for his glory!

If the ministry of Capitol Commission can serve you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Grace and Peace to You,

Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Georgia State Minister, Capitol Commission
ron.bigalke@capitolcom.org
www.capitolcom.org