Looking at the Grief in James 1

Title: Looking at the Grief in James 1

Bible Book: James 1 : 2-16

Author: David E. Owen

Subject: James; Patience; Wisdom; Temptation


[Editor's Note: Dr. Owen shares a series on The Book of James that encompasses twenty sermons. They will be added to SermonCity at one per week following the two sermons added this week (1/28/2013).]

In his book “In the Eye of the Storm,” Max Lucado tells a little story about Chippie the parakeet…

Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.

The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said “hello” when “ssssopp!” Chippie got sucked in.

The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie—still alive, but stunned.

Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.

Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.

A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. “Well,” she replied, “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore – he just sits and stares.”

It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over … That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I feel like I’ve been sucked in, washed up, and blown over; and I feel like I’ve lost my song. But that’s part of life. In the first section of James chapter 1, the inspired writer is looking at grief. And as he does, he is sharing instruction about some of the things in our spiritual lives and experience that involve grief. James says that…

I. When It Comes To Grief, We Should Remember The Instruction About Waiting (Patience)

(James 1:2-4)

James deals with the grief involved in cultivating patience. And perhaps “waiting” is not the best synonym for patience here, because this word “patience” found in James 1, verses 3 and 4 is a Greek word that has the idea of persevering endurance…

patience – Greek 5281. hupomone, hoop-om-on-ay'; from G5278; means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy:--enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

Leonardo da Vinci said that…

Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.

Someone else said…

Patience is a virtue, Possess it if you can.

Found seldom in a woman, Never in a man.

As we look into the Biblical text…

A. Notice The Paradox Involved In Patience

(James 1:2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

1. James Indicates That There Is A Variation In Our Trials

when ye fall into divers temptations

Warren Wiersbe wrote…

It is not “if you fall into various testings” but “when you fall into various testings.” The believer who expects his Christian life to be easy is in for a shock. Jesus warned His disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). Paul told his converts that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Because we are God’s “scattered people” and not God’s “sheltered people,” we must experience trials. We cannot always expect everything to go our way. Some trials come simply because we are human – sickness, accidents, disappointments, even seeming tragedies. Other trials come because we are Christians.

Consider the meanings of these words…

fall into – Greek 4045. peripipto, per-ee-pip'-to; from G4012 and G4098; to fall into something that is all around (and thus be encompassed by it), i.e. light among or upon, be surrounded with:--fall among (into).

divers – Greek 4164. poikilos, poy-kee'-los; of uncert. der.; motley, i.e. various in character:--divers, manifold.

Peter makes a similar statement using the same words (manifold temptations)…

(1 Peter 1:6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

‎According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, the word “temptations” used in James 1:2 (NT:3986 – peirasmos) means…

an experiment, attempt, trial, proving; in this context it refers to adversity, affliction, trouble (cf. our trial), sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s faith, holiness, character

Craig S. Keener said…

The specific trials he addresses in this letter are the poverty and oppression experienced by the poor (1:9-11; 5:1-6; cf. 2:5-6). (From the IVP Bible Background Commentary)

2. James Indicates That There Is A Victory In Our Trials

My brethren, count it all joy

John MacArthur reminds us that James was “profoundly influenced by the Sermon on the Mount,” and “his epistle may be viewed as a practical commentary on our Lord’s sermon.” The statement in James 1:2 can be easily compared to…

(Matthew 5:10-12) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {11} Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. {12} Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

A. T. Robertson said of the phrase in James 1:2…

Count it ‎heegeesasthe‎. First aorist middle imperative of ‎heegeomai‎, an old verb, to consider. Do it now and once for all.

All joy ‎pasan ‎‎charan‎. “Whole joy,” “unmixed joy,” as in Philippians 2:29. Not just “some joy” along with much grief.

Like Jell-o gelatin mixed in hot water, when we are in hot water, the work of God and our understanding that it is the work of God transforms the whole situation.

There is victory in the relationship manifested here, “brethren,” and there is victory in the rejoicing manifested here, “count it all joy.”

Albert Barnes said…

Regard it as a thing to rejoice in; a matter which should afford you happiness. You are not to consider it as a punishment, a curse, or a calamity, but as a fit subject of felicitation (happiness).

B. Notice The Process Involved In Patience

(James 1:3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

The central concept in this process is “the trying of your faith.”

‎A. T. Robertson said…

The use of “trying” (‎to ‎‎dokimion – neuter article with neuter single adjective) here and in 1 Peter 1:7, clearly means “the genuine element in your faith,” not “crucible” nor “proving.” Your faith like gold stands the test of fire and is approved as standard.

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says of the word “trying” that it used…

as an adjective both of person and object thus denoting (the idea of being – as an object) “tested in battle,” “reliable,” “trustworthy;” (or as a) “a man who is tested, significant, recognized, esteemed, worthy”

The reference to “your faith” seems to suggest the concept of our religion or our relationship to God.

‎Again, A. T. Robertson said that…

James here … regards faith (‎pistis) like Paul “as the very foundation of religion” (Mayor).

1. James Points To The Realization Of Tried Faith

(James 1:3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

‎A. T. Robertson said that “knowing” here is…

experimental knowledge, the only way of getting this view of “trials” as “all joy.”

The word means “to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of.”

knowing – Greek 1097. ginosko, ghin-oce’-ko; a prol. form of a prim. verb; to “know” (absol.), in a great variety of applications and with many impl. (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed):--allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) known (-ledge), perceive, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand.

2. James Points To The Result Of Tried Faith

(James 1:3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

‎worketh – Greek 2716. katergazomai, kat-er-gad'-zom-ahee; from G2596 and G2038; to work fully, i.e. accomplish; by implication it means to finish, fashion:--cause, do (deed), perform, work (out).

According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, this word means to perform, accomplish, achieve; to do that from which something results, or to bring about, or result in. It means to fashion. So the trying of our faith accomplishes patience; it results in patience; it fashions patience in our lives.

A. T. Robertson said that this word “patience” means “remaining under.” He said it has the idea of “staying power.” Again, it is the idea of persevering endurance.

patience – Greek 5281. hupomone, hoop-om-on-ay'; from G5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy:--enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

C. Notice The Perfection Involved In Patience

(James 1:4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

The word “perfect” used twice in this verse means…

perfect – Greek 5046. teleios, tel'-i-os; from G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neut. (as noun, with G3588) completeness:--of full age, man, perfect.

And the “work” indicates…

work – Greek 2041. ergon, er'-gon; from a prim. (but obsol.) ergo (to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act:--deed, doing, labour, work.

God’s process in our lives might be compared to an assembly line, where each stop point focuses on something different. God wants us to be complete in Him.

A Bishop E. Hopkins said…

What Is The Proper Work Of Patience?

1. The first work of patience is the quieting and composing the spirit of the afflicted. He is calm within, though his outward condition be full of storms (Acts 20:24).

2. Another work of patience is to put a stop to all immoderate complaints.

3. Another work of patience under sufferings is self-resignation to the sovereign will and disposal of Almighty God. And there be two notable ingredients which go to the composition of it—self-denial and submission.

4. Another work of patience is a holy endearing of our afflictions to us; when it bring us to account them precious, as choice mercies bestowed upon us.

5. Another work of patience is the reconciling of a man to the instruments of his sufferings, to make him willing to forgive them himself, and to pray to God for their pardon, who is far more offended by them than we can be.

6. Another work of patience is to obstruct all dishonourable or unlawful ways of deliverance from those sufferings under which we lie. Patience will not suffer a man to accept of deliverance if he cannot free the honour of God and the purity of his own conscience from stain, as well as his outward man from trouble.

(From The Biblical Illustrator)

1. The Operation Of Patience Requires Submission

(James 1:4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

A. T. Robertson explained that the verb “let … have” means “let it keep on having.”

Albert Barnes said…

Let it be fairly developed; let it produce its appropriate effects without being hindered. Let it not be obstructed in its fair influence on the soul by murmurings, complaining, or rebellion. Patience under trials is fitted to produce important effects on the soul, and we are not to hinder them in any manner by a perverse spirit, or by opposition to the will of God.

2. The Outcome Of Patience Reveals Satisfaction

(James 1:4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

‎A. T. Robertson said of the double description “perfect and entire” that it means…

Perfected at the end of the task (‎telos) and complete in all parts (‎holokleeroi‎, from ‎holos – whole and ‎kleeros – lot or part). (Together the words mean) “Perfected all over.”

Entire has the idea of being whole in every part.

And then, as John MacArthur says…

James adds “lacking in nothing,” reinforcing the comprehensiveness of his point. That is the end result of trials: maturity, completeness, not lacking in anything of spiritual importance and value.

wanting – Greek 3007. leipo, li'-po; a prim. verb; to leave, i.e. (intrans. or pass.) to fail or be absent:--be destitute (wanting), lack.

nothing – Greek 3367. medeis, may-dice'; includ. the irreg. fem. medemia, may-dem-ee'-ah, and the neut. meden, may-den'; from G3361 and G1520; not even one (man, woman, thing):--any (man, thing), no (man), none, not (at all, any man, a whit), nothing, + without delay.

God has designed that our trials produce patience and endurance within us. And as He cultivates spiritual strengths within us, it is His design that not one thing be omitted.


The old blind, Scottish preacher of another generation, George Matheson wrote…

We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet, I do not think the invalid’s patience the hardest to achieve. There is a patience that I believe to be harder – the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: it is the power to work under a stroke (stress); to have a great weight at your heart and still to run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily tasks. It is a Christ-like thing! … The hard thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in the (sick)bed but in the street.

James said that our trials produce patience; endurance that keeps us going and cultivates a sense of satisfaction in our hearts.

II. When It Comes To Grief, We Should Remember The Instruction About Wisdom

(James 1:5)

In their book, Absolute Zero Gravity, Betsy Devine and Joel E. Cohen shared this little story…

An angel appears at a faculty meeting and tells the dean that in return for his unselfish and exemplary behavior, the Lord will reward him with his choice of infinite wealth, wisdom or beauty. Without hesitating, the dean selects infinite wisdom.

“Done!” says the angel, and disappears in a cloud of smoke and a bolt of lightning. Now, all heads turn toward the dean, who sits surrounded by a faint halo of light. At length, one of his colleagues whispers, “Say something.”

The dean looks at them and says, “I should have taken the money.”

There is a value in wisdom that is greater than money. I think Solomon realized that when, instead of asking the Lord for great wealth, he asked the Lord for an understanding heart.

In James 1:5, the writer deals with wisdom. And in the context, James is discussing grief and human struggles. In the midst of such grief and struggle, there is certainly a great need for wisdom.

What is wisdom? J. Vernon McGee said…

Wisdom is the exercise and practical use of knowledge. Many people have knowledge, but they do not have any practical sense whatsoever. Even to this day I get a good laugh just thinking about the man with a Ph.D. with whom I used to play golf. One day out on the golf course it began to rain, and he looked at me in utter amazement and asked, “What shall we do now?” Well, you don’t need a Ph.D. to know that you need to get in out of the rain! I said to him, “I think we’d better seek shelter.” Wisdom is to know how to act under certain circumstances of testing, of trial, or when problems or questions arise. Life is filled with these, and you and I need wisdom from God.

Doug Larson said, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk.”

In his book Knowing God, J. I. Packer said, “Wisdom is the power to see and the inclination to choose the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it.”

As we study here in James 1, we notice that…

A. The Verse Mentions A Shortcoming (A Deficiency) Of Wisdom

(James 1:5) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

1. Let’s Think About The Implied Meaning Of This Wisdom

wisdom – Greek 4678. sophia, sof-ee'-ah; from G4680; wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual):--wisdom.

The Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that the word “wisdom” (NT:4678 – sofia or sophia) means…

Wisdom, broad and full intelligence (from Homer down); used of the knowledge of very diverse matters, so that the shade of meaning in which the word is taken must be discovered from the context in every particular case. (It may refer to) the wisdom which belongs to men: universally, Luke 2:40,52; specifically, the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs; … (it may refer to) the art of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice, Acts 7:10; the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision, Revelation 13:18; 17:9; skill in the management of affairs, Acts 6:3; a devout and proper prudence in contact with men not disciples of Christ, Colossians 4:5; skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth, Colossians 1:28; 3:16; the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living, James 1:5; 3:13,17; with which ‎(godly wisdom) ‎is put in contrast (with human wisdom)‎, such as the craftiness of envious and quarrelsome men, James 3:15.

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says…

James 1:5 is a single saying linked to what precedes by a catch-word (“wanting” = “lack”) and leading on in vv. 6 to a series of sayings about prayer and faith: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” For James wisdom is a morally upright walk, 3:13,17. It has nothing whatever to do with the so-called wisdom which people were claiming for themselves and against which the author is arguing. The wisdom of his opponents leads to strife, discord and disorder, 3:14,16. In contrast, true wisdom manifests itself in gentleness (3:13), peaceableness, readiness to come to terms, and orderliness, 3:17.

The Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says that sophia (NT:4678 – wisdom) is “is the insight into the true nature of things.”

I would say that this wisdom is spiritual discernment.

2. Let’s Think About The Insufficient Measure Of This Wisdom

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary indicates that James’ use of the word “lack” as it applies to “wisdom,” is a repetition of his use of the word “wanting” as it applies “nothing” in verse 4.

lack – Greek 3007. leipo, li'-po; a prim. verb; to leave, i.e. (intrans. or pass.) to fail or be absent:--be destitute (wanting), lack.

To “lack” indicates that one is left behind in a certain area, specifically here, in the area of wisdom. It means that one is destitute of wisdom, in other words, they are impoverished and needy when it comes to wisdom. Wisdom is an absent quality.

Thomas Manton said…

All men are concluded under an estate of lacking.

The Pulpit Commentary says…

In the former verses the writer, after the apparent paradox of wishing “joy” (ver. 1) to those so persecuted and tried, proceeded (vers. 2-4) to urge, not merely joy in spite, but joy by reason, of these things. For, said he, by these things the faith, which is of so great price, is developed and perfected. It might seem, however, that, with God so purposing, and man thankfully concurring in the Divine purpose, yet, from lack of true discernment, of wise judgment, man might fail to realize the profit of the Divine purpose; might lose, not gain, by the testings. For surely it requires much Christian judgment so to meet temptation, and so to bear trial, that the continued testing, instead of depressing and damaging our life, shall be evermore bearing us upward and onward. And now, in the verses before us, this is provided for. “If any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God.” In order that at last we may be “lacking in nothing,” God will supply this present lack, which is so urgent.

B. The Verse Mentions A Supplication (A Desire) For Wisdom

(James 1:5) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

1. We Have A Definite Privilege – What A Blessing!

A.T. Robertson said that this verb “let him ask” (‎aiteitoo‎) is the present active imperative tense of ‎aiteoo‎, so it means “let him keep on asking.”

ask – Greek 154. aiteo, ahee-teh'-o; of uncert. der.; to ask (in gen.):--ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that the word “ask” in this context means “to ask for oneself or request for oneself.”

Albert Barnes said…

It is one of the privileges of Christians, that they may not only go to God and ask him for that general wisdom which is needful for them in life, but that whenever a particular emergency arises, a case of perplexity and difficulty in regard to duty, they may bring that particular thing before his throne, with the assurance that he will guide them.

2. We Have A Divine Provider – What A Benefactor!

God – Greek 2316. theos, theh'-os; of uncert. affin.; a deity, espec. (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; fig. a magistrate; by Heb. very:--X exceeding, God, god [-ly, -ward].

Adam Clarke said…

[Let him ask of God] Because God is the only teacher of this wisdom.

A. T. Robertson said that the phrase “of God” (‎para ‎‎tou ‎‎Theou‎) indicates “from (from beside) God.” In other words, we are asking wisdom from God while positioned in a vantage point beside Him.

Cf. (James 4:2) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

C. The Verse Mentions A Supplying (A Distribution) Of Wisdom

(James 1:5) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

1. God Gives Wisdom In A Generous And Comprehensive Way

He gives “to all men.” Someone said, “You don’t have to be listed in Who’s Who to know what’s what.”

Cf. (Acts 10:34) Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

He will give wisdom to you and to me!

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says of the word “liberally” (NT:574 – haploos) that it is an adverb meaning “simply, openly, frankly, sincerely.” Used in James 1:5, it means that God gives in a way that is “led solely by His desire to bless.”

2. God Gives Wisdom In A Gentle And Certain Way

He “upbraideth not” means, according to Marvin R. Vincent in his Word Studies in the New Testament, it is the “pure, simple giving of good without admixture of evil or bitterness.”

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that to “upbraid” means to “reproach, revile, cast in one’s teeth (scold).”

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary explains…

Liberally, [‎haploos‎] - with simplicity (Romans 12:8). God gives without adding anything to take from the graciousness of the gift (Alford). God requires the same ‘simplicity’ in His children (“eye ... single,” Matthew 6:22: literally, simple).

Upbraideth not - an illustration of simply. God gives to the suppliant without upbraiding him with past ingratitude, or future abuse of God’s goodness.

Craig S. Keener wrote that…

The prime Old Testament example of asking God (cf. 4:2-3) for wisdom is 1 Kings 3:5 and 9, and God was always recognized as its source (e.g., Proverbs 2:6). In Jewish wisdom, upbraiding or reproaching was considered harsh and rude under normal circumstances, although reproof was honorable.

(From the IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament)

James mentions some further principles about wisdom later in his epistle…

(James 3:13-17) Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. {14} But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. {15} This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. {16} For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. {17} But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

The classic example of asking for wisdom was mentioned earlier. 1 Kings 3:5 and following, records Solomon’s request for wisdom and an understanding heart.

(1 Kings 4:29-30) And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. {30} And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.

We, too, need to ask for wisdom.

Thomas Carlyle said…

“To the minnow every cranny and pebble, and quality and accident of its native little creek may have become familiar, but does the minnow understand the ocean tides and periodic currents, the trade-winds and monsoons, and moon’s eclipses; by all which the condition of its little creek is regulated, and may from time to time (miraculously enough) be quite overset and reversed?”

III. When It Comes To Grief, We Should Remember The Instruction About Wavering (Being Double-Minded / Half-Hearted)

(James 1:6-8)

In the context of James 1:2-16, James is discussing grief and human struggles. And in the process of discussing such grief and struggle, James sets forth various lessons that we should learn as we face the “divers temptations” (vs. 2) and the “trying of our faith” (vs. 3). We need to learn the lesson about Waiting (or patience) in verses 2 thru 4. We need to learn the lesson about Wisdom in verse 5. And we need to learn the lesson about Wavering here in verses 6 thru 8.

James refers directly to “wavering” in verse 6, and then he refers to that one who is “double-minded” in verse 8. These are terms that point to a spirit of doubt and hesitation. And I would say that doubt and double-mindedness is a terrible thing in one who professes to be a believer.

G. Campbell Morgan had already enjoyed some success as a preacher by the time he was 19 years old. But then he was attacked by doubts about the Bible. The writings of various scientists and agnostics disturbed him (e.g., Charles Darwin, John Tyndall, Thomas Huxley, and Herbert Spencer). As he read their books and listened to debates, Morgan became more and more perplexed. What did he do? He cancelled all preaching engagements, put all the books in a cupboard and locked the door, and went to the bookstore and bought a new Bible. He said to himself, “I am no longer sure that this is what my father claims it to be—the Word of God. But of this I am sure. If it be the Word of God, and if I come to it with an unprejudiced and open mind, it will bring assurance to my soul of itself.” The result? “That Bible found me!” said Morgan. The new assurance in 1883 gave him the motivation for his preaching and teaching ministry. He devoted himself to the study and preaching of God’s Word. (From the “Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers”)

Carl Rogers, the U.S. psychologist, was 22 years old when he entered Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1924. While there, he participated in a seminar organized to explore religious doubts. Rogers later said of the group, “The majority of members … in thinking their way through questions they had raised, thought themselves right out of religious work. I was one.”

The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said…

Give me the benefit of your convictions, if you have any; but keep your doubts to yourself, for I have enough of my own.

A. Notice How The Wavering One Is Compared

(James 1:6) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

1. Let’s Consider How Wavering Is Defined

wavering – Greek 1252. diakrino, dee-ak-ree'-no; from G1223 and G2919; to separate thoroughly, i.e. (lit. and reflex.) to withdraw from, or (by impl.) oppose; fig. to dscriminate (by impl. decide), or (reflex.) hesitate:--contend, make (to) differ (-ence), discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, waver.

The Bible says of Abraham…

(Romans 4:19-21) And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: {20} He staggered (same Greek word as wavering) not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; {21} And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that the word “wavering” comes from the Greek term diakrinonemos (NT:1252), and it means…

To be at variance with oneself, hesitate, doubt; James 1:6 – “nothing wavering” (doubting), i. e. wholly free from doubt. There is also a connection to the word “partial” in James 2:4 (do ye not make distinctions among yourselves). It has the idea of not hesitating through a lack of faith.

2. Let’s Consider How Wavering Is Described

(James 1:6) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

James 1:6

Adam Clarke said…

[Is like a wave of the sea] The man who is not thoroughly persuaded that if he ask of God he shall receive, resembles a wave of the sea; he is in a state of continual agitation; driven by the wind, and tossed: now rising by hope, then sinking by despair.

Albert Barnes said…

[For he that wavereth, is like a wave of the sea…] The propriety and beauty of this comparison will be seen at once. The wave of the sea has no stability. It is at the mercy of every wind, and seems to be driven and tossed every way. So he that comes to God with unsettled convictions and hopes, is liable to be driven about by every new feeling that may spring up in the mind. At one moment, hope and faith impel him to come to God; then the mind is at once filled with uncertainty and doubt, and the soul is agitated and restless as the ocean. Compare Isaiah 57:20. Hope on the one hand, and the fear of not obtaining the favor which is desired on the other, keep the mind restless and discomposed.

Cf. (Isaiah 57:20-21) But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. {21} There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

There is no peace to the wicked or the wavering.

A. T. Roberson said that the “wave of the sea” speaks of the “dashing or surging wave in contrast with ‎successive waves.” It means “to toss by waves.” To be “driven with the wind” is “a vivid picture of the sea whipped into white-caps by the winds.” To be “tossed” is a picture of “the restless swaying to and fro of the surface of the water, blown upon by shifting breezes.”

B. Notice How The Wavering One Is Confined

(James 1:7) For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

1. A Staggered Faith Hampers Our Hope In God

think – Greek 3633. oiomai, oy'-om-ahee; or (shorter) oimai, oy'-mahee; mid. appar. from G3634; to make like (oneself), i.e. imagine (be of the opinion):--suppose, think.

There can be no thought or imagining of hope where such wavering and doubt exists. It creates limits and boundaries in spiritual experience.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says…

“That man” refers to “such a wavering self-deceiver.” And of the word “think,” they note that “real faith is something more than a mere [‎oiesthoo‎ - imagining] surmise.

Cf. (Isaiah 59:1) Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

God is not limited, but we sometimes are … in our faith.

2. A Staggered Faith Hinders Our Help From God

receive – Greek 2983. lambano, lam-ban'-o; a prol. form of a prim. verb, which is used only as an alt. in certain tenses; to take (in very many applications, lit. and fig. [prop. obj. or act., to get hold of; whereas G1209 is rather subj. or pass., to have offered to one; while G138 is more violent, to seize or remove]):--accept, + be amazed, assay, attain, bring, X when I call, catch, come on (X unto), + forget, have, hold, obtain, receive (X after), take (away, up).

Thomas Manton said…

Unbelievers, though they may receive something, yet they can expect nothing from God. They are under a double misery. They can lift up no thoughts of hope and comfort, for they are not under the assurance of a promise. If they receive anything, they cannot look upon it as coming by promise, or as a return of prayers. Men usually deceive themselves with vain hopes and thoughts; they are out in their thinking. The cause why we receive not upon asking is not from God, but ourselves; He “giveth liberally,” but we pray doubtingly. He would give, but we cannot receive. We see men are discouraged when they are distrusted, and suspicion is the ready way to make them unfaithful; and, certainly, when we distrust God, it is not reasonable we should expect aught from Him. From that “anything” – neither wisdom nor anything else – that God thinketh the least mercy too good for unbelievers: He thinketh nothing too good for faith. (From The Biblical Illustrator)

C. Notice How The Wavering One Is Characterized

(James 1:8) A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

1. He Is Uncertain

double-minded 1374. dipsuchos, dip'-soo-khos; from G1364 and G5590; two-spirited, i.e. vacillating (in opinion or purpose):--double minded.

‎Thayer’s defines double-minded as “wavering, uncertain, doubting; divided in interest namely, between God and the world.”

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says…

Double-minded, [dipsuchos] – double-soulled: the one soul directed toward God, the other to something else. The words in this James 1:8 are in apposition (consecutive nouns referring to the same thing) with “that man” James 1:7: thus the “is,” which is not in the original, needs not to be supplied. “A man double-minded, unstable in all his ways!” [Dipsuchos is found here and James 4:8, for the first time in Greek.] Not a hypocrite, but fickle, “wavering” man (James 1:6): opposed to the single eye (Matthew 6:22).

The word double-minded is used in James 4:8 as well…

(James 4:8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

2. He Is Unstable

unstable – Greek 182. akatastatos, ak-at-as'-tat-os; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a der. of G2525 (to place down in permanency); inconstant:--unstable.

Albert Barnes said…

[Is unstable in all his ways] That is, not merely in regard to prayer, the point particularly under discussion, but in respect to everything. From the instability which the wavering must evince in regard to prayer, the apostle takes occasion to make the general remark concerning such a man, that stability and firmness could be expected on no subject. The hesitancy which manifested on that one subject would extend to all; and we might expect to find such a man irresolute and undetermined in all things.

Listen to the words that Edward Mote wrote in 1834…

Verse 1:

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

Verse 2:

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.

In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.


On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.

Instead of being tossed by the waves, we stand on the Rock by faith!

Are you wavering? Are you a “doubting Thomas”? Listen to what Jesus said to the original doubting Thomas…

(John 20:27) Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

IV. When It Comes To Grief, We Should Remember The Instruction About Withering (Humility)

(James 1:9-11)

The message in this section is on humility. And again with the theme of the passage in mind, namely that of grief and struggles and various trials, let us hear well this lesson. If circumstances bring you poverty or lowliness or prosperity, through it all, maintain a spirit of humility before Almighty God.

The Bible has quite a bit to say about pride and about humility. For example, Jesus said…

(Matthew 23:12) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

James goes on to say…

(James 4:6) But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

(James 4:10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Similarly, Peter said…

(1 Peter 5:5-6) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. {6} Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

I read a little story about pride and how deceptive it can be…

A young woman asked for an appointment with her pastor to talk with him about a besetting sin about which she was worried. When she saw him, she said, “Pastor, I have become aware of a sin in my life which I cannot control. Every time I am at church I begin to look around at the other women, and I realize that I am the prettiest one in the whole congregation. None of the others can compare with my beauty. What can I do about this sin?” The pastor replied, “Mary, that’s not a sin, that’s just a mistake!”

Proverbs, the book of wisdom, says…

(Proverbs 16:18) Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

D.L. Moody said it like this: “Be humble or you’ll stumble.”

Corrie Ten Boom said…

When I saw Sadhu Sundar Singh (the Christian missionary from India) in Europe, he had completed a tour around the world. People asked him, Doesn’t it do harm, your getting so much honor?” The Sadhu’s answer was: “No. The donkey went into Jerusalem, and they put garments on the ground before him. He was not proud. He knew it was not done to honor him, but for Jesus, who was sitting on his back. When people honor me, I know it is not me, but the Lord, who does the job.”

It is said that Alex Haley, the author of Roots, had a picture in his office, showing a turtle sitting atop a fence. The picture was there to remind him of a lesson he learned long ago: ‘If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know he had some help.’ He said, “Any time I start thinking, WOW, ISN’T THIS MARVELOUS WHAT I’VE DONE! I look at that picture and remember how this turtle—me—got up on that post.”

Benjamin Franklin wrote…

There is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive. Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

The great puritan writer and preacher John Flavel said, “They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud.”

A. James Mentions An Oddity In This Context

(James 1:9) Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:

1. He Refers To A Brother In A Humble Position

low degree – Greek 5011. tapeinos, tap-i-nos'; of uncert. der.; depressed, i.e. (fig.) humiliated (in circumstances or disposition):--base, cast down, humble, of low degree (estate), lowly.

MacArthur said…

James … addresses the saint who was economically poor and who represented most of the scattered and persecuted Jewish believers to whom he wrote. Many of them, no doubt, had once been at least somewhat well-off financially but had their homes and other possessions confiscated or had to leave them behind when fleeing their persecutors. At this time, their most common lot was poverty.

James refers to such lowly individuals again in chapter 2, verses 1 thru 4.

2. He Refers To A Brother With A Happy Promotion

rejoice – Greek 2744. kauchaomai, kow-khah'-om-ahee; from some (obsol.) base akin to that of aucheo (to boast) and G2172; to vaunt (in a good or a bad sense):--(make) boast, glory, joy, rejoice.

exalted – Greek 5311. hupsos, hoop'-sos; from a der. of G5228; elevation, i.e. (abstr.) altitude, (spec.) the sky, or (fig.) dignity:--be exalted, height, (on) high.

A. T. Robertson said…

Of low degree ‎ho ‎‎tapeinos‎. “The lowly” brother, in outward condition (Luke 1:52), humble and poor as in Psalm 9:39; Proverbs 30:14, not the spiritually humble as in Matthew 11:29; James 4:6. In the Septuagint ‎tapeinos ‎was used for either the poor in goods or the poor in spirit. Christianity has glorified this word in both senses. Already the rich and the poor in the churches had their occasion for jealousies.

Glory in his high estate ‎kauchasthoo ‎‎en ‎‎too ‎‎hupsei ‎‎autou‎. Paradox, but true. In his low estate he is “in his height” ‎hupsos‎, an old word, in the New Testament, also in Luke 1:78; Ephesians 3:1; etc.).

Again, MacArthur says…

The most destitute Christian … may be considered “the scum of the world, the dregs of all things” (1 Corinthians 4:13) in the eyes of the world, but in God’s eyes he is exalted. He may be hungry, but he has the bread of life. He may be thirsty, but he has the water of life. He may be poor, but he has eternal riches. He may be cast aside by men, but he has been eternally received by God. He may have no home on earth, but he has a glorious abode in heaven. When God, in His wisdom and sovereignty, takes away physical possessions from some of His children, it is for the purpose of making them spiritually mature, a blessing infinitely more valuable than anything they have lost or have wanted but never possessed. The believer who is deprived in this life can accept that temporary and insignificant deprivation because he has a future divine inheritance that is both eternal and secure.

B. James Mentions An Opposite In This Context

(James 1:10) But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

1. For The Rich, There Is A Process Of Lowliness That Is Desirable

made low – Greek 5014. tapeinosis, tap-i'-no-sis; from G5013; depression (in rank or feeling):--humiliation, be made low, low estate, vile. (Note: This word comes from the Greek term translated “low degree” in verse 9.)

Albert Barnes said…

[But the rich, in that he is made low] That is, because his property is taken away, and he is made poor. Such a transition is often the source of the deepest sorrow; but the apostle says that even in that a Christian may find occasion for thanksgiving. The reasons for rejoicing in this manner, which the apostle seems to have had in view, were these:

(1) because it furnished a test of the reality of religion, by showing that it is adapted to sustain the soul in this great trial; that it can not only bear prosperity, but that it can bear the rapid transition from that state to one of poverty; and (2) because it would furnish to the mind an impressive and salutary illustration of the fact that all earthly glory is soon to fade away.

2. For The Rich, There Is A Picture Of A Life-Cycle That Is Depicted

(James 1:10) But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary states…

But “let the brother,” etc - i.e., the best remedy against double-mindedness is that Christian simplicity of spirit whereby the “brother,” low in outward circumstances, may “rejoice (answering to James 1:2) in that he is exalted” – namely, by being accounted a son and heir of God, his very suffering’s being a pledge of his coming crown (James 1:12); and the rich may rejoice “in that he is made low,” by being stripped of his goods for Christ’s sake (Menochius); or, in that he is made, by sanctified trials, lowly in spirit (Gomarus). The design is to reduce all things to an equable footing (James 2:1; 5:13). The “low,” rather than the “rich,” is termed “the brother” (Bengel). So far as one is merely “rich” in worldly goods, “he shall pass away”; in so far as his predominant character is that of a “brother,” he “abideth forever” (1 John 2:17). This view meets all Alford’s objections to regarding “the rich” here as a “brother” at all.

Some believe that because “the rich” is not referenced as a “brother” as the one of low degree was, that such a man is not even saved. But if the rich one is saved, then it is his wealth and worldly goods that shall pass away. You can’t take it with you, and even before leaving this life, all of the prosperity and possessions can be taken from you.

C. James Mentions An Outcome In This Context

(James 1:11) For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

1. He Uses An Image With An Ancient Premise

Samuel Cox wrote…

James plays the fabulist (writer or recite of fables), or historian here, and narrates the sad end of a certain blade of grass. In whose field, then, did this grass grow? All the commentators reply, “In that of the prophet Isaiah.” St. James is here falling back on Old Testament words which would be familiar to the Jews for whom he wrote—words which his story would be sure to recall to their minds; THE STORY OF THE BLADE OF GRASS (Isaiah 40:6-8). As we listen to the prophet, imagination stirs and works; we see the broad, pleasant field bathed in sunlight, fanned with sweet airs, thick with verdant grass, gay with the purely tinted, fragrant wild flowers which clothe the grass as with the robes of a king; and then we feel the fierce, hot blast sweep across the field, under whose breath the grass withers, the bright flowers fade, and all that teeming life, all that exquisite and varied beauty, is swallowed up of death. Who does not feel at times that that is a true picture of human life? And remembering how, in this field, every separate blade of grass and every fragile flower has its own little world of hopes and fears, joys and pains, who can fail to be saddened as he beholds them withered by a breath, their early promise unfulfilled, their goodliness not ripening to its maturity? “All flesh is grass”—all the great heathen races; but also “this people is grass”—a grass which withers like the rest. Like their neighbours, the Jews were in a constant flux, vexed by constant change. One generation came, and another went. The life, vexed with perpetual changes while it lasted, never continuing in one stay, was soon over and gone. Their only hope lay in obedience to the Divine Word, in appropriating that Word, in steeping their life in it till it became enduring as the Word itself.

(Notice) THE MORAL OF THIS STORY. St. James is not content with a lesson so large and general as had contented Isaiah. He has a special purpose in view in telling the story which called up memories, prophetic and historic, from the past. As he had taken a single blade of grass out of Isaiah’s broad field, so he selects one man, or one class of men, for special warning. The blade of grass reminds us that human life soon withers, that human fortune often withers even before the man dies. Yes; but it also reminds us that some men wither even while they retain the full vigour of their life, and their good fortune abides. The rich man “withers in his ways,” in his goings to and fro along the lines of his traffic, before his health is touched, before his wealth is touched. And therefore, argues St. James, the rich man should rejoice when his riches use their wings and fly away.

(From the Biblical Illustrator)

2. He Uses An Image With An Applied Principle

(James 1:11) For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

Barnes says…

[And the grace of the fashion of it perisheth] Its beauty disappears.

[So shall the rich man fade away in his ways] That is, his splendor, and all on which he prideth himself, shall vanish. The phrase “in his ways,” according to Rosenmuller, refers to his counsels, his plans, his purposes; and the meaning is, that the rich man, with all by which he is known, shall vanish. A man’s “ways,” that is, his mode of life, or those things by which he appears before the world, may have somewhat the same relation to him which the flower has to the stalk on which it grows, and by which it is sustained. The idea of James seems to be, that as it was indisputable that the rich man must soon disappear, with all that he had of pomp and splendor in the view of the world.

The principle is this…

(2 Corinthians 4:18) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

I think Job had it in perspective when he said…

(Job 1:21) And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

I’d Rather Have Jesus is a song written by Rhea F. Miller with the tune written by George Beverly Shea. This poem, written in 1922, was left on a piano in the Shea home by Bev Shea who wanted her son to find it and change the course of his life.

The words, I’d rather have Jesus, moved George so much and spoke to him about his own aims and ambitions in life. He sat down at the piano and began singing them with a tune that seemed to fit the words. Shea’s mom heard him singing it and asked him to sing it at church the next day.

George’s life direction did change. He was offered a popular music career with NBC, but a few years later chose to become associated with evangelist Billy Graham and sang this hymn around the world.

The song says…

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;

I’d rather be His than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,

I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain

Or be held in sin’s dread sway,

I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;

I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,

I’d rather be true to His holy name.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;

He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,

I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.


V. When It Comes To Grief, We Should Remember The Instruction About Wandering (Temptation)

(James 1:12-16)

Drew Anderson of Tucson, AZ recounted this personal story in Reader’s Digest. He said…

While my wife and I were shopping at a mall kiosk, a shapely young woman in a short, form-fitting dress strolled by. My eyes followed her. Without looking up from the item she was examining, my wife asked, “Was it worth the trouble you’re in?”

James talks about temptation and lust and sin. And here again, his subject is in the context of discussing the struggles and grief of these scattered believers. There is certainly a prevalent element of struggle and grief that is relevant to temptation. Temptation is such a widespread thing in our world. In fact, John said…

(1 John 2:16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Paul said…

(1 Corinthians 10:13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

As James deals with this subject, we…

A. Notice The Endurance In Temptation

(James 1:12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

1. There Is The Realm Of Temptation

temptation – Greek 3986. peirasmos, pi-ras-mos'; from G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by impl. adversity:--temptation, X try.

Barnes goes on to say…

The apostle seems here to use the word “temptation” in the most general sense, as denoting anything that will try the reality of religion, whether affliction, or persecution, or a direct inducement to sin placed before the mind. The word temptation appears in this chapter to be used in two senses; and the question may arise, why the apostle so employs it. Compare James 1:2, 13. But, in fact, the word “temptation” is in itself of so general a character as to cover the whole usage, and to justify the manner in which it is employed. It denotes anything that will try or test the reality of our religion; and it may be applied, therefore, either to afflictions or to direct solicitations to sin – the latter being the sense in which it is now commonly employed.

2. There Is The Reward Of Triumph

(James 1:12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

blessed – Greek 3107. makarios, mak-ar'-ee-os; a prol. form of the poetical makar (mean. the same); supremely blest; by extens. fortunate, well off:--blessed, happy (X -ier).

tried – Greek 1384. dokimos, dok'-ee-mos; from G1380; prop. acceptable (current after assayal), i.e. approved:--approved, tried.

John Phillips wrote…

The word for “crown” here is stephanos, the crown of triumph that was given to victors in the Olympic games and other such events. The Greek games were common in Palestine in the days of Herod the Great. They were even held in Jerusalem itself. The “crown of life” stands here in contrast with the Lord’s crown (stephanos) of thorns (Matthew 27:29). The only other place where the crown of life is mentioned is in the ascended Lord’s promise to the persecuted saints at Smyrna: “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown (stephanos) of life” (Revelation 2:10). We can win other crowns – the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), for example and the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4). James offsets the ups and downs of life, along with its troubles and trials by promising a reward, a crown, to those who love the Lord unreservedly. It is a powerful incentive.

promised – Greek 1861. epaggello, ep-ang-el'-lo; from G1909 and the base of G32; to announce upon (reflex.), i.e. (by impl.) to engage to do something, to assert something respecting oneself:--profess, (make) promise.

Barnes says…

[Them that love him] A common expression to denote those who are truly pious, or who are his friends. It is sufficiently distinctive to characterize them, for the great mass of men do not love God.

love – Greek 25. agapao, ag-ap-ah'-o; perh. from agan (much) [or comp. H5689]; to love (in a social or moral sense):--(be-) love (-ed).

To those who have sacrificed self and pleasure because they love Him, there is this reward.

Do you remember hearing about the “fight or flight” response in the animal kingdom? I think there is a similar principle in the spiritual kingdom, so that when the believer is threatened by temptation they can flee or they can fight. Of the fleeing, Paul said…

(2 Timothy 2:22) Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Someone said, “When you flee temptation, be sure you don’t leave a forwarding address.”

Victory in this fight comes through talking to God…

(Matthew 6:13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Victory in this fight comes through trusting in God…

(2 Peter 2:9) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

A Discipleship Journal survey conducted in 1992 among their readers ranked the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:

1. Materialism.

2. Pride.

3. Self-centeredness.

4. Laziness.

5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness.

5. (Tie) Sexual lust.

7. Envy.

8. Gluttony.

9. Lying.

Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when they had neglected their time with God (81 percent) and when they were physically tired (57 percent). Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).

B. Notice The Explanation About Temptation

(James 1:13-14) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: {14} But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

1. He Mentions The God Who Is Innocent In This Matter

Cf. (Genesis 22:1) And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

‎The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary notes…

God is said (Genesis 22:1) to have “tempted Abraham,” but there the tempting is trying or proving; not seducement. Alford [‎apeirastos ‎‎kakon‎ – tempted with evil], ‘God is unversed in evil.’

Fairbain, quoted in The Words and Works of Jesus Christ by J.D. Pentecost said…

What is temptation? Seduction to evil, solicitation to wrong. It stands distinguished from trial thus: trial tests, seeks to discover the man’s moral qualities or character; but temptation persuades to evil, deludes, that it may ruin. The one means to undeceive, the other to deceive. The one aims at the man’s good, making him conscious of his true moral self; but the other at his evil, leading him more or less unconsciously into sin. God tries; Satan tempts.

2. He Mentions The Guilt That Is Internal In This Matter

‎A. T. Robertson explained…

I am tempted of God ‎apo ‎‎Theou ‎‎peirazomai‎. The use of ‎apo ‎shows origin ‎apo ‎with ablative case), not agency ‎hupo‎, as in Mark 1:13, of Satan. … Temptation does not spring “from God.”

God did not originate temptation.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary continues by saying…

The cause of sin is in ourselves. Satan’s suggestions do not endanger us before they are made our own. Each has his own special [‎tees ‎‎idias‎] lust, arising from his own temperament. Lust flows from original birth-sin in man, inherited from Adam.

Drawn away - the beginning step: drawn away from truth and virtue.

Enticed, [‎deleazomenos‎] - taken with a bait as fish. The further progress: the man allowing himself (middle voice) to be enticed. “Lust” is personified as the harlot that allures man.

C. Notice The Error Of Temptation

(James 1:15-16) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. {16} Do not err, my beloved brethren.

1. There Is A Reproductive Element Involved In Sin

bringeth forth – Greek 616. apokueo, ap-ok-oo-eh'o; from G575 (apo – In composition, as a prefix, it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion) and the base of G2949 (to swell with young); to breed forth, i.e. (by transf.) to generate (fig.):--beget, bring forth.

Illustration: We’ve all heard about the woman who recently had octuplets. Lust produces a lot of sin, and sin produces a lot of death.

2. There Is A Roaming Element Involved In Sin

err (vs. 16) – Greek 4105. planao, plan-ah'-o; from G4106; to (prop. cause to) roam (from safety, truth, or virtue):--go astray, deceive, err, seduce, wander, be out of the way.

It was F.B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.

Stephen Brown, Christianity Today, April 5, 1993, p. 17


“Jesus is Coming Soon”

Music and Lyrics by R.E. Winsett

Verse 1:

Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear,

Freedom we all hold dear, now is at stake.

Humbling your heart to God saves from the chastening rod.

Seek the way pilgrims trod, Christians awake!

Verse 2:

Troubles will soon be o’er, happy forever more,

When we meet on that shore, free from all care.

Rising up in the sky, telling this world goodbye,

Homeward we then will fly, glory to share.


Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon,

Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound.

All of the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the sky,

Going where no one dies, Heavenward bound!

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