12.26.2009

james continued

Ok y'all...let me know who you are if you are reading this! Perhaps I can better tailor my writing topics if I have an idea who my audience (if there is one) is. Blogging is so weird at times.
James 1...hopefully I will get more than 2 verses done!
3. the testing of your faith produces steadfastness Calvin points to the clear meaning of why we experience trials and temptations:
We now see why he called adversities trials or temptations, even because they serve to try our faith.
Faith! This is the object that is tried as a levee might be tried in a hurricane, or a bridge bearing its load. Though at this point it seems we in a small conundrum. When we are tempted and our faith is tested, it is not a pleasant experience, though we intellectually know that this trial is to ultimately be for our joy. What gives? James, inspired by the Spirit, brings forth more ammunition against the bitter taste of temptation to the Christian. He gives us another reason why we should rejoice: tests produce steadfastness/patience. Paul also states in Romans 5:3 that we are to rejoice in these situations.

4. perfect and complete, lacking nothing The first thing that jumps out at me like a rabid squirrel is this: the full effect of trials, which test our faith, and then produces steadfastness, is so that we may be fully content. Trial / temptation appears - faith is tested - steadfastness produced - steadfastness runs its course producing perfect contentment. Now I realize that the text specifically does not mention contentedness as a final result, however what happens when we are "perfect and complete, lacking nothing"? We are content. Now this perfection is likely not what the fallen world would call a perfect life. It is probably not living in a huge house on the beach, happy family in tow, and a bank account filled to the brim. What does it look like? It might look like the Apostle Paul's life. It might include physical tribulations and beatings for the name of Christ. It might look completely different.

(Sidenote & Request: If anyone who has been to seminary, or is skilled in textual analysis reads this...please tell me if this method of drawing conclusions is really bad hermeneutics. I am even wary of my own conclusion here concerning contentedness.)

Secondly (big breath), "Real patience is that which endures to the end." Our patience must not be fleeting! Patience that runs its full course and produces the aforementioned perfection is the patience that weathers the storm of trial and temptation.

(Another sidenote: I am not gonna make it through Chapter 2 tonight! Doh.)

5. lacks wisdom Who lacks wisdom? Who wants some divine knowledge? I got wisdom heah, only 5 dolla...nope! It's free! Just ask God!
Yes, I lack wisdom. This reminds me of the Proverb writer who said (Proverbs 30:2-3):
"Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
     I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
     nor have I knowledge of the Holy One."
And can we just note that this came from a person who wrote part of Proverbs - a book of the divinely inspired Bible!! Wow. If he says he's stupid, well...I don't know what to call me (and you).
Ok, done for tonight. Maybe I will just stick with the first chapter of James until 2010.

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