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Speaker: Jerry Cisar
G.K. Chesterton wrote that “…we often do not begin to question until the megaphone of suffering has awakened us from our sleep,” and that “questions rise to the surface during seasons of suffering,” because suffering “shocks us out of our complacent attachment to the blessings of comfort and prosperity.” Not all who receive James’ letter will respond to suffering by considering it pure joy. In fact, no one who receive his letter will do so naturally. James knows that trials will bring questions and their questions will often lead them to wrong conclusions.
Why does God allow me to suffer? Why do I have these desires, these longings? Why do I sin? How do I stop? Why doesn’t God take away these desires? If trials are supposed to bring me to maturity, why do I often want to run toward my sinful desires to find momentary happiness?
James knows that suffering will awaken questions in many believers. Questions lead to reasoning, and reasoning can lead to truth or deception, and deception leads to death as surely as truth leads to life.
In James 1:2-8, James told us to call on God for the Wisdom we need to persevere under trials. Then in 1:9-12, he described how that Wisdom will transform our perspective on life. As we will see, in 1:13-18, James describes another “wisdom”. This “wisdom” does not come down from the Father, but comes from below and entices our desires within. This so-called wisdom deceives and leads to death. James warns us not to be led astray by this deception, and gives us the truths we need to escape its cobweb of confusion.