So what do we do during trials and temptations?
Quick Recap! Many times we succumb to temptation! We are sometimes prone to fix our eyes on our circumstances and we miss what God has in store for us. What are we to do when we are prone to carried away or enticed by the desires that are at the core of our lives? Well…..I hope by the end of this message you will be able to say with me “God is good, and God is always good.” Even in the midst of trials and our failures. See! God is so good there is no changing how good He is! Can you say that about your sanctification today? Maybe this will help answer that….
In the barracks where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested. They miraculously had been able to smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they read that in all things they were to give thanks, and that God can use anything for good. Corrie's sister Betsy decided this meant thanking God for the fleas. This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas. During the next several months, a wonderful, but curious, thing happened. They found that the guards never entered their barracks. This meant the women were not assaulted. It also meant they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp. Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ.
Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter their barracks. It was because of the fleas. We hear that story and say “how terrible “and yes rightfully so….but behind the fleas and suffering we see God’s goodness and providence in their lives to receive grace and for salvation to those who do not know the Saviour.. The same principles Betsy applied to her life and her sister through the written Word can easily be applied to each and every one us today!
We are never to blame God for our situations! We are to give thanks in the midst of them. Why are we not to blame God when things go wrong or bad in our lives? According to James it’s our desires that lead us to take our eyes of the vertical relationship that we with Christ. When we give into temptation it gives birth to sin in our lives. When our desires are led by deception……when we are hooked by the deception it gives birth to disobedience which brings about death according to James. And James says “do not be deceived” which gives idea that no one is immune to the deceitfulness of sin and you are the one accountable, not God! James is telling us that we are not to be deceived when it comes to the character of God.
God's perfection and completeness is displayed in what James says in (v17a) "Every good gift....” means the act of giving……And "every perfect gift..." means the object given “Comes from the Father of Lights" The very same Creator of Light and the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars………As it says in (Gen 1:14-19). Psalm 136:1-9 also speaks of this wonderful truth! “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;…” God is not some light……He is light itself…the Creator and all sustaining One…….nothing evil comes from God, because God can’t do what is wrong or do what is evil. (v17) “Father of light”
WHAT JAMES IS SAYING IS? God cannot change for the worse because He is holy! God cannot change for the better because He is perfect! GOD HAS ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR SIN! WHY? There is “No Darkness or variation of shadow of turning” in our sovereign Lord (v17b) which means….
He is Changeless
He is Pure Light
He is Perfect
He is Sinless
He is Righteous
He is Just, He only does what is right or perfect.
There is no darkness in anything God does, because pure Light is where Holiness and His glory is displayed, and it’s also the Light that reveals our sin that is hidden in darkness. Because all sin is done in darkness and by us….NOT HIM! In your trials or temptations, don’t believe the lies. Remember that God is good, very good. And He wants that which is good for you. So we are to trust in Him through our trials and turn to Him in your temptations. Why? He is the source of every good. See! The scriptures declare that He is without a shade of doubt, God is completely perfect in everything He is and does and to be trusted despite your circumstance.
NO ONE OR ANYTHING CAN COMPARE TO GOD’S PERFECT HOLINESS.
Ex 15:11 "Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”
GOD’S PERFECTION IS DEMONSTRATED IN HIS CHARACTER.
Isa 6:3 “And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
GOD'S PERFECTION IS SHOWN IN HIS NAME.
Isa 57:15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy….”
GOD'S PERFECTION PROVES THAT HIS WORD IS SUFFICENT.
2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
GOD'S PERFECT JUSTICE WAS DISPLAYED ON THE CROSS.
Rom 3:21-26 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
He is completely trustworthy and unchangeable. The greatest gift came down from heaven to save sinners like us! This is why James is so concerned for his family “beloved brothers” this is a term of endearment. (v16). He’s displaying his love for the church and his desires for the church to stay strong and focused on the goodness of Christ even in midst of their suffering.
JAMES IS REMINDING ALL OF US THAT:
He is the Giver of good gifts.
He is the giver only of good gifts.
He is the giver who constantly gives.
He is the giver who will never change
REMEMBER! God’s gifts are always better than what Satan and his fallen angels bargains to give you. REMEMBER! Satan never gives any gift for free……because you will end up paying for them dearly somewhere down the road.
Prime Example of this!
The book of Joshua where we see the outcome of a man named Achan. God is angry because “Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.” Joshua 7:10-11. The whole nation was associated and shared in the sin of Achan…..and in (v17 of Joshua 7) God tells Joshua to deal with the sin problem…..“Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me." And Achan answered Joshua, "Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath." Joshua 7:19-21. “And Joshua said, "Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today." And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.” [Which means: The Valley of Trouble] Joshua 7:25-26. What am I trying to say? It’s our sin that causes us the most pain! Not God. Israel was taught that victory is possible only where there are careful obedience to His Covenant and sincere dedication to the promises of God. We cannot cope with our adversaries [sin temptation], unless we live in unclouded fellowship with God and trust Him to see us through (whatever it is). The tragic outcome when our eyes are clouded is that it causes us to take our eyes of the prize [Jesus Christ] the one who gives us everything we need…..not what we want. The giver of good not only does this because He can He does it so the world can see an example of His love and for you see Him through the suffering.
Look at what it says in (v18) “..... He brought (He begat, to bring forth) us forth by the word of truth"
His scripture (love letter)
His word of truth (unchangeable truth)
The Gospel which is the word of truth, and truth itself.
It contains nothing but truth
By this our souls are begotten and born again (firstfruits)
He has given us His word (His promise) to see us through each and every trial which is the gift from above.
REMEMBER WHAT JAMES SAID “let the testing of your patience have its perfect work!” (v4) We are to be a "firstfruits" of creation. In the Old Testament this referred to the first and best harvest crops, which God expected as an offering
Deut 26:1-2 clearly says "When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. Giving God that initial crop was an act of faith and obedience that He would fulfill His promise of a full harvest. This goes for the same today. We are the evidence of God's new creation that is to come. Paul said this in Rom 8:18-19 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” The world will see Christ by your decisions…behaviour….and your joy as you face trials and tribulations through His amazing grace. The world will see who reflect God’s character and the coming hope of eternal things. Because! Nothing on the earth can separate that love…..that bond we have with the Giver of good gifts found in the GOSPEL. When you feel that challenge and feel like succumbing to temptation and doubt our sovereign God! Take a moment and remember the fleas of Ravensbruck; and thank God anyway. Thank Him because He is looking out for you’re to grow and bear fruit of His righteousness and amazing care. Why? He is your Father of light and sovereign over the universe.
As A W Pink said “Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a oppressive Tyrant, but the exercised pleasure of One who is infinitely wise and good! Because God is infinitely wise He cannot err, and because He is infinitely righteous He will not do wrong.”
His providential love is being made perfect through your weaknesses and tribulation. So, keep looking upwards and never take your eyes of the Light of grace found in Jesus Christ.