The Patience of the Spirit
James Chapter One
the Apostle James, the early church’s leader, not head, identifies his status
within the church, as a servant. This
servant, then addresses and greets God’s remnant of the “twelve tribes”. He makes notice that these tribes are
scattered, this identifies the state of Israel as fallen nation. What does the fact that Israel is scattered
signify? Deuteronomy 28:64 – And
the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth
even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou
nor thy fathers have known, even wood
and stone. A state of
Note: James then opens his letter with a
strange comment, that God’s children, in their fallen state, although still
God’s remnant, should consider it a joy, when they “fall” into different
temptations. We need to recognize the
significance of the words that James intentionally uses, “fall” and
“temptations”. Websters defines temptation as the state of being enticed, or
arousing strong attraction or interest.
This means that there exists outside forces trying to bring the actor
into a different state of mind (faith).
These forces use devices that are pleasing to the actor, in order to
draw them in, and thereby causing the actor’s interest to peak, and lead to a
sense of want.
To this point the temptation is neither good nor bad, that is determined
by the intention of those yielding the external forces. Traditionally, we think of temptations as something
evil, or that the devil uses, but does God also use the act of temptations? We will address this later. Genesis 3:6
when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it
was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired
to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also
unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Here we see how Satan,
enticed or tempted Eve. He created an
illusion in the mind of Eve (a different faith), and at each step drew her in
closer with pleasure, “good”, “pleasant” and “create”. Eve then, engrossed with euphoria was easily
transformed in a state enmity with God. Exodus 20:17 – Thou shalt not covet (Eve’s new faith) thy neighbour’s house,
thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his
maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
With euphoria, Satan was able to lead Eve, a perfect being, into a state
of Covetousness against her provider, and Creator. So far, we have only addressed the negative
components of temptations, could there be some positive ones as well? We will address this later.
Next, let us deal with Jame’s second
chosen word, “fall”. Webster’s
dictionary has over eleven distinct definitions for the verb “fall”, but when
one compares each definition to the context of Jame’s letter, only two
definitions give the best rendering for the circumstance. Webster’s Definition of Fall – 1. to pass suddenly and passively (do nothing to stop
it) into a state of body or mind or a new state or condition (like Eve) 2. to enter as if unawares :
STUMBLE, STRAY. So which of these two
definitions is James referring to when he uses the word “Fall”? Well, we are dealing with a conditional state
of mind when discussing the use of the verb temptation, so one could reasonably
assume that this is in harmony with what the author is portraying, and
therefore the correct use of the definition, so let’s take a closer look. Here Webster uses the phrase sudden and passive. Passive –
1. acted on by external agencies 2. receptive to outside impressions or
influences 3. receiving or enduring without resistance “Submissive”. In other words, in the first two
explanation, passive requires a sense of
awareness or a state of knowledge.
Using this form of the verb to explain the meaning of Jame’s use of the
word fall, would imply or infer that God wants us to actively place
ourselves in the state of temptation.
James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the Devil, and he will
flee for a season. This verse is antagonist to the notion that
God wishes for man to willingly place himself in temptation. Therefore, the actual use of the word “fall”
that James uses is to enter into unaware.
So man, does not create the situation, or add to the situation for which
he is being tempted, otherwise, he is in collusion with the Devil, and
in enmity against God.
So why does James want us to consider
ourselves to be in a state of joy when being tempted?
Note: Here James compares our faith, or
what beliefs exists in our mind, to one of the muscles in our body. James proves his prior statement, that we
should be filled with joy when we experience temptations that we did not lead
ourselves into, or intend. He goes on to
infer that, as we make our muscles stronger with use, we strengthen our
spiritual muscles (faith in our mind)
thru over coming Satan’s temptations, cause we will experience them
anyway. He uses the word “trying” to
represent the strengthening, or working, the powers of endurance, or the
strength of faith. He goes on to state
that this strengthening of faith, creates in our mind, patience. To be patient, is to remain in the state of
faith, irrespective of difficulty or diversity.
1. Trying – severely straining (strengthening) the powers of endurance
2. Patient – 1. bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint 2. steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
Here, James expresses to the remnant, that strengthening our our
spiritual muscles, or faith of mind, will lead the actor to perfect works. Therefore, we do not do the works in order to
be saved, rather the works are the outward manifestation of our salvation. When our state of mind, is in perfect harmony
with Christ, we lack nothing. James 2:26 –