Proper perspective on trials and temptations, by Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg
Bible study material on James 1:9-15

Our studies on James 1:1-8 introduced us to some essential attitudes needed amid trials. Today’s lesson on James 1:9-16 purposes to emphasizes appropriate perspective needed in trials and temptation. To James, therefore, while trials and temptations are inevitable realities in our discipleship, our perspective towards it determines, to a large extent, the outcome of it.

Perspectives to life matters (James 1:9-11)
James 1:9-11 identifies James’ exhortation on what should be a healthy perspective in contrasting circumstances of life. That is either in times of poverty (humble)) or in rich circumstances. To James, having a proper and thus eternal perspective matters. The person in humble circumstance is to take pride in his/her high position through faith in God. On the other hand, the rich are to take pride in their low position when they have eternity as their perspective since, to James, worldly riches will not endure eternity. James, therefore, encourages us into maturity by dissuading us from false beliefs and ideas. Compared to having faith and being saved in Christ, the worldly things we desire and pursue in life are meaningless.

Perspective has to do with our mental view and picture of the world, circumstances and situations. It also relates to our view and understanding of God. Our perspectives influence our beliefs. That then leads to our attitudes and that further affect our actions. Perspective is also known as a worldview. In this light, our worldview determines our outcomes in trials.

Differentiate between trials and temptations (James 1:12-15)
On the one hand, James continues with his instruction on trials/tests by using the phrase, blessed is the. This is similar to the beginning of Jesus’ instruction called the beatitude. To James, persevering during trials makes us receive the crown of life. Thus, the outcome of testing times is positive thereby presupposing that it comes from God. On the other hand, James’ instruction on temptation has it that it comes from our own sinful desires, sin and evil. The result of full-grown temptation, that is when we fall into it, is death.

Our mental outlook of the world and circumstances possibly determines our character, maturity and how we solve problems. Having proper perspective makes our situations meaningful. It could, therefore, be deduced that proper perspective to temptation protects us from falling into it. James helps us to become aware of the fact that temptation has stages which are evil desires, sin and its final consequences which is death.

1. How does your perspective on life affect your beliefs and actions?
2. What is the difference between trials and temptation?
3. What is the ultimate outcome of trials when we persevere in it?
4. What are we not to say when tempted?

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