We finish our series on James 1 by returning to the beginning. James 1 begins with an enigma. It tells us when we encounter bad circumstances, we are to make a choice. Choose a perspective to view them as “pure joy.” This tells us that perspective is something we can choose, which is a huge revelation. And the Bible does not ask us to do things unless we are capable of doing them.
It also tells us that life has difficulties. As we have discovered later in James 1, all circumstances are trials. Prosperity being perhaps the most difficult to endure. And endurance is the chief benefit to us in life. Why? Verse 12 tells us: “How blessed is the man who endures temptation! When he has passed the test, he will receive the victor’s crown of life that God has promised to those who keep on loving him.” Endurance is the means by which we gain the “victor’s crown of life.” This is the way to win.
James does not pretend this is easy. He acknowledges we will need some help. Which is why he tells us to ask for wisdom. How are we supposed to see life from this perspective? James answers: ask God and he will reveal how. Interestingly, James says to ask with no doubt. If we believe God will give us a true perspective, then we will gain it. But if we doubt, we are “double minded.” If we try to have the mind of God and the world, James tells us we will be “tossed by the wind” – like a paper blowing in a gale, being swept along by the surrounding circumstances.
James tells us, conclusively, that we can choose a godly perspective. If we ask, believing, God will give us the wisdom to know it. This is a key foundation to a truly successful life.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
– James 1:2-3