My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-5 NKJV
Are you in the heat of the battle? I am too. These words from James bring me both comfort and direction. One of the great keys to entrepreneurship is the ability to persevere. Not only to persevere, but to learn in our circumstance, make adjustments, and continue to move forward. Winston Churchill’s famous declaration comes to mind, “Don’t ever, ever give up!” Successful people are really no different from you and I… we all share plenty of failures and setbacks. “More than conquerors” make good out of a bad situation and do it regularly.
Commanding Circumstances – James tells us to count our unfavorable circumstance joy. The indication here is to “command it to be joy”. Jesus said “the light of the body is the eye”. If we look at these two concepts in parallel, it is all about perception. How do we see our circumstance, or the battle that we face? Do we see it as something that will cripple us financially, or do we see the circumstance as part of a process that is bringing entirety? To be complete and lacking nothing, sounds pretty good doesn’t it? The testing of our faith produces constancy. We learn to keep our eyes on the prize, looking at the big picture. At the same time we are asking for wisdom, making adjustments to our situation, modifying our habits and mindsets that produce bad fruit (bad results).
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8 NKJV
Asking for wisdom – We can be confident that when we ask for wisdom we receive it. The indication is that we must learn to trust, not only trust that our Father God wants to answer, but trust that we are able to receive the answer. Ask in faith, and receive in faith. A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways. My battle, carrying out the direction of life that God has called me to, has largely been the battle not to be double minded. Setting the purpose of God before me as a monument (or reminder of where I am headed), and to pull down the thoughts that are opposed to God’s direction for my life, bringing every thought into captivity into Christ.
Where Trouble comes from – Many believers respond to trials in the wrong way because they believe trouble is God’s sovereign dealing. Most of us have some theological baggage that causes us to believe God controls the details of their future. God can test us or discipline us (Deut 8:2-3, Heb 12:6). However, He’s not in the business of destroying His people. Normally problems are simply an unfortunate situation or an attack from the enemy. Here’s the key; if you believe God is behind your obstacle you’ll bow down to it and be defeated or confused by it. That’s the sense of being double-minded. If you understand the source of the problem is not God, you will be much more likely to rise above it and ask for His help… and much more likely to receive the wisdom and the power to defeat your circumstance and win the warfare. In every circumstance you face, God is able to work good out of a bad situation. That’s the resurrection power available to all of us.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Rom 8:28 KJV
The Next Step – Knowledge is having the facts or information; understanding is awareness of the principles behind the facts. However, wisdom is the intellectual awareness of knowing what to do next. Getting “unstuck” from the heat of a battle requires time with the Lord to get the revelation of “what to do next.” Trials and discipline imply endurance but problems and warfare require action based on a revelation or a God-inspired idea. Prayer and meditation around our knowledge of the situation and our understanding of the alternatives is a forum for God to give us wisdom. Knowing in our mind and having peace, then confidence, then boldness in our heart about what action to take enables us rise up and defeat our obstacles.
We are often intimidated by problems or immobilized in fear by warfare. Kings think, touch God, and act. The more we learn to escape the trap of passivity and experience break through, the quicker we go through the process; prophecy our deliverance and implement the wisdom of God through our own actions… and “count it all joy.”
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.