23rd of the 3rd month 2018/2019
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who does endure trial, for when he has been proved, he shall receive the crown of life which the Master has promised to those who love Him.”
The blessing of enduring trials!!! This is something that many seem to forget when facing trials or going through some very rough times in one’s life. How many of you have recently been through, or are currently going through, some kind of trial and or trials? We have all faced many trials in our lives…some perhaps a bit more than others… yet, we take note that trials are a definite part of one’s life! How you get through them though is of extreme importance. Whether you like to hear it or not, one of the best tests of our maturity, as believers, is the trials and sometimes trying tribulations that we go through. When we as יהוה’s set-apart people go through personal trials, we will be able to quickly discover what kind of belief we truly possess. Trials not only reveal our belief but they also develop our belief and character, in Messiah. Now I know that most of us, if not all, would easily agree with each other that we do not necessarily like trials. I mean, they are never easy and while some may be a little easier than others, most of us would probably feel that it would be better to not have any trials, yet the truth is that this is not so. Many teach today that we don’t have to go through any trials and suffering, as they erroneously teach that it has all been taken away and in doing so, they sadly miss the essence of the necessity for trials, which are there to help us grow. To not have trials may sound nice, however there would only be one problem; and that is that without any trials we would never mature! Now, for some that would be great as they simply love being like little spoilt, naughty children without responsibility and many today do not want to take up the responsibility of growing, in Messiah, as they should! יהוה wants us to mature and grow up in Him. In this message I want to talk about turning those seemingly miserable trials that we face in to joyous occasions for growth. Yes…joyous occasions for growth!
For purposes of this message, we could categorise people, in general, into 4 categories:
The ‘will’s’, the ‘wont’s’, the ‘maybe’s’ and the ‘cant’s’.
The ‘will’s’ accomplish everything, or at least do their utmost to do so; the ‘wont’s’ oppose everything while wanting everything done for them; the ‘maybe’s’ can never make up their mind and as a result are thrown back and forth emotionally and the ‘cant’s’ fail in everything, because they always have an excuse to not doing what is required.
Which one are you? In Messiah we are called to be the will’s’, for we will follow Him no matter what, aměn!
In a message called, ‘THE JOY OF PERFECT ENDURANCE!’ I would like us to take a closer look at the words of Ya’aqoḇ, by looking at the first chapter of his letter.
(Read Ya’aqoḇ/James 1)
After wrestling through many passages this week, I felt led to share about living through the trials that we face, almost on a daily basis. We have all faced some ‘new’ trials of late, I am sure! I say ‘new’ because I am sure that you can all agree that there are always ‘new’ trials coming our way. One trial seemingly finishes and a new one seems to be so quickly on the heels of the previous one. This is a passage that I am sure you are all very familiar with, however it is always good to be reminded and refreshed, through the Word, in order that we may learn to have a fruitful life of joyful praise unto יהוה, aměn!
The primary theme of the letter of Ya’aqoḇ/James, which we are able to see throughout his letter, is that of belief/faith. He highlights the clear truth that a practical belief equips us to live daily in a very practical way, emphasising the life of belief that true followers of יהושע are encouraged to live. Throughout Scripture we read of many great men and women of the belief in our Master, who turned seeming defeat into victory and pressured trials into triumphs and so, instead of becoming the victims they became the victors. These are written for us to encourage us to do the same, so that we can experience the strengthening joy of perfect endurance!
We can experience, and live, a victorious life of belief in Messiah, as we endure many trials and grow spiritually, bu walking according to the Spirit, which is to walk in love, walking in obedience by guarding to do what He commands and walk according to the Torah.
Our Master has overcome all, so that in Him we can be more than conquerors and therefore, as we walk in Him, we are able to walk from a point of victory as opposed to trying to find the victory! Walking from a point of victory helps us recognise that in Him we can stand firm, face all and endure…. with much joy and praise for His Mighty Name!
Recognising our stand in Messiah equips us to endure trials! Let us consider the: words of Sha’ul, in:
Romiyim/Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of the Messiah? Shall pressure, or distress, or persecution, or scarcity of food, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it has been written, “For Your sake we are killed all day long, we are reckoned as sheep of slaughter.” 37 But in all this we are more than overcomers through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor messengers nor principalities nor powers, neither the present nor the future, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of Elohim which is in Messiah יהושע our Master.”
Sha’ul had certainly faced many trials and persecutions, yet he understood the truth of what Ya’aqoḇ was writing to us about! Trials should never separate us from the love of Messiah, as we endure tat which we face, having our feet firmly planted on the Rock of our deliverance.
If we are to truly understand the joy of perfect endurance, then we would do well to learn from Ya’aqoḇ’s letter and recognise some essential characteristics of one who is able to count it all joy when falling into, or facing, various trials. From the first chapter of his letter we are able to identify 4 attributes of a joy-filled believer, as we look at 4 key words that we find in the first 5 verses, which are:
COUNT – KNOWING – LET – ASK
The Attributes that we are able to recognise by these 4 key words are:
1 – A JOYFUL ATTITUDE; 2 – AN UNDERSTANDING MIND; 3 – A SURRENDERED WILL; 4 – A BELIEVING HEART.
Let us therefore look a little closer at these:
1 – A JOYFUL ATTITUDE – COUNT!
In verse 2 we are told to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials”
Wow – how often do we hear this and find it a little hard to do?
Well, as I have said on many occasions the saying, “Outlook determines outcome and attitude determines action” – we are called to actually consider it a joyful thing when facing trials!!!
The way we view our trials is critical and the attitude we face them with is of vital importance. Our Master is basically telling us, through Ya’aqoḇ’s letter, that we are to expect trials! Ya’aqoḇ tells us to count it all joy ‘when’ we fall into various trials! The Greek word that is translated here as ‘when’ is ὅταν hotan – Strong’s G3752 which a conjunction that denotes time, which can be somewhat indefinite as we do not know exactly ‘when’ it shall occur. We take note that he does not say ‘if’…but rather…’when’, teaching us the surety of trials that we will face!!!
In fact, our Master tells us clearly that we will have pressures:
Yoḥanan/John 16:33 “These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
The Greek word that is translated here as ‘pressures’ comes from the root word θλῖψις thlipsis – Strong’s G2347 which means, ‘tribulation, pressure, affliction, distress, persecution, trouble’ and this word comes from the primitive verb θλίβω thlibō – Strong’s G2346 which means, ‘to press or afflict, to distress, suffer affliction’, and in the literal sense can mean, ‘to squash, press, hem in, rub, harassed’, and can also be understood as being ‘narrow or hard pressed’.
The Word of Elohim is what we have, to recognise the True peace we have in our Messiah King; and while we certainly will have much pressure in the world, we are able to be strong and courageous as we stand firm on the Rock of our Salvation and hold fast to the Living Word, aměn!
In the world we have pressure….! How true is that statement!!! Pressure, pressure and more pressure… is that how it feels at times for most of you? Well take heart … because this is our lot, and our only means of enduring the sure pressure is to ‘hear – guard – do’ the Word of Elohim! What is very clear to us is that we, who are walking faithfully in Messiah, will have pressure in this world – the question is how we are handling the pressure – with courage and joy, or do we find ourselves stumbling under pressure?
How do you handle times of distress? Are you faltering because your strength is small or are you standing firm in the Truth, guarding the knowledge of our Master by actively doing what He commands?
Tehillah/Psalm 20:1 “יהוה does answer you in the day of distress! The Name of the Elohim of Yaʽaqoḇ does set you on high!”
There is no better encouragement than hearing and knowing that יהוה hears your cry in times of trouble!
So, as we know that during the tribulation, we who are in Messiah have this wonderful promise we can be sure of! יהוה will defend those who know the Elohim of Ya’aqoḇ and cause them to stand in the day of distress for it is He who strengthens His taught ones in the wisdom, understanding and the proper counsel of our Master and King!
Why I am highlighting these words is to simply emphasise that in this world we will have trouble, yet we can put our firm trust in our Master and Elohim as we find our refuge and strength in Him.
At this point, let me ask you – “How do you welcome trials and difficulties?”
We read in Acts 14 about the account of Sha’ul, when he was stoned in Lustra and dragged out of the city for dead, yet on the next day, while the believers were praying around him, he got up and went into the city!!!
The story goes something like this:
Sha’ul and Barnaḇa came to Lystra, while on their travels and it was here that they healed a cripple and everyone having heard this, thought that their ‘mighty-ones’ had come down to visit! What ‘mighty-ones’?
Well, the myth that everyone, in that area, grew up believing in, was that centuries before Zeus and Hermes had come down to Lustra and they went from door to door where they were not welcomed. The whole town had refused to welcome them and entertain them, all except the very last home that they went to, where an elderly couple lived. This couple opened their home to these mighty-ones, so the myth goes, and were very hospitable, giving them a great meal. Zeus and Hermes asked each other whether they should tell this elderly couple what they were about to do and so they took the couple outside and told them to look at the town for they were about to destroy it and they asked what the couple wanted from them in return for their kindness that they had shown.
The couple replied they wanted to grow old together. And so, after having destroying Lustra, these mythical ‘mighty-ones’ left and this old couple, being the only ones left behind, grew old and one day, as they were sitting around, leaves began to grow out of their arms and legs and they eventually turned into two ‘linden’ trees!!!
The linden tree is unique to that part of the country and it was believed that they were to be a reminder to the people of Lustra of how they were once destroyed for not welcoming Zeus and Hermes! Again, this is all mythology of course – but the people of Lustra believed it! So, when Sha’ul and Barnaḇa came and Sha’ul healed the cripple, the people were convinced that Zeus an Hermes had come back and they had better welcome them this time, for they did not want to make the same mistake that was made before. Of course Sha’ul and Barnaḇa responded to this nonsense by tearing their clothes and telling them they were simply men just like they were. This caused the people of Lustra to turn against Sha’ul and Barnaḇa! One minute they were worshipping Sha’ul and Barnaḇa as ‘mighty-ones’ and the next they were against them and they stoned Sha’ul – and left him for dead! What did Sha’ul do? The next day he got up and went into the city!!!
Think about these events for a moment! How many of you would, after being stoned and left for dead, get up and go back, perhaps for more of what they had already dished out? Sha’ul, in his joy of serving יהושע, welcomed trials!!! He went to Derbe and then came back again, a third time, to Lustra, in order to encourage the believers in their belief, telling them that they would have to face hardships in order to enter the Kingdom Reign of Elohim.
It was during his third visit that a young man by the name of Timotiyos, who had certainly witnessed all that Sha’ul had been through, had responded to the call of Elohim and followed Sha’ul. Timotiyos became the leader of the assembly in Ephesos and was a great and mighty man of belief who understood, by the example of Sha’ul, that even though one may suffer for the Kingdom, it is worth suffering for. Timotiyos was the only one we know of, from Lustra, that responded to the call – the rest were an example of the kind of people we see today – people who are too comfortable in their ways and unable to count the cost of following יהושע and unable to count it all joy when they face trials of many kinds!
Kěpha tells us in his first letter not to think it strange or be surprised by the trials we may be suffering! We are in this world but not of this world and Satan constantly stands against us, however יהוה is in control and He allows us to face trials in order to test our belief. In the Torah יהוה makes it clear that if a prophet comes and leads you away from Torah then he is a false profit – the very thing that Kěpha warns us against in both of his letters! Those who teach lawlessness are false teachers, full stop!!! Ear ticklers that are telling people that they do not have to obey יהוה’s commands! We are told that if a prophet comes and performs all kinds of miracles and signs and leads you away from the Torah – then we should know that יהוה has sent them to test our hearts!!! We must be very quick to discern a false teacher or prophet – for they will tell you that it is ok not to keep Torah – which is a huge lie!
Ya’aqoḇ teaches us that when trials come upon you suddenly, do not be dismayed but consider it as joy!
While we do not know what we may encounter each day, we can and should be prepared and armed in the Truth, so that the strengthening joy of our Master be our strength that makes us stand and handle all, with complete trust in our Mighty Master and Elohim!
Not every trial that we face is a result of mistakes that we may or may not have made, as we can encounter trials unexpectantly! Knowing this then, we should be armed with the ability to not get shaken in our stand! Trials can come across our path, even when we are being steadfast in our loving obedience and we should not always think that they are a result of sin or compromise! They can be, but not always!
Trials comes across our way in order to mature us in the belief and therefore we can understand why Ya’aqoḇ says that we should count it all joy when falling into trials – for it is an opportunity to grow in the Master!
Trials of many kinds indicate that they come in many ways – unique, if you will, to every individual, and the final product of the trials that are faced through patient endurance is a beautiful opportunity for praise and esteem to be given to יהוה!
The Greek word that is translated as ‘count’ in Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:2 is ἡγέομαι hēgeomai – Strong’s G2233 meaning, ‘to lead, command, consider, account, suppose, think carefully upon, count’. This is used 30 times and is also translated as, ‘governor, think, thought, esteem’.
Ya’aqoḇ did not waste time in his letter to make it clear that we are to be a counting people; and when we link the concept of counting to counting to Shaḇuoth – a joyful harvest feast of the wheat being brought in and the joy of the bread being made as a pleasing wave offering unto Elohim, we see how Ya’aqoḇ encourages us to count it joy – the end result is worth it and we ought to go through the counting period until our Messiah comes again with great joy and perseverance!
When we look more closely at our Master’s commands to count the cost of following Him we recognize that it does come with some real heavy decisions to consider – in fact, He tells us that if any one of us comes to Him and does not hate father and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and his own life too, is unable to be His taught one; and whoever does not bear his stake and follow after Him is unable to be His taught one.
Hard words they may be, but what He is saying in effect is that we are to put our total trust in Him and not in others and to do that may cost us some things that we will find hard to count as lost! When we count the cost of walking in Him we will be hated!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:22 “And you shall be hated by all for My Name’s sake. But he who shall have endured to the end shall be saved.”
As much as none of us like to or want to be hated – we must consider the cost of being made into the Bread/Body of Messiah, which is presented before Elohim; and Shaḇuoth is a picture of the Yoḇel release that will be fulfilled at The Second Coming of Messiah on Yom Kippur, where He will take up His ready Bride, and we have this very assurance by the fact that the first fruit offering has already been given as a guarantee of the full harvest that will be brought in.
While we are to be counting during this period we find and start to see how this is a great training for us to readily be a counting people every single day who will gladly ‘work out our deliverance’ with fear and trembling!
In the process of counting we also see the need for us to be an alert, and active people in our counting.
Sha’ul, upon having the scales fall from his eyes, was enabled to evaluate his life and set new goals and priorities – things that were once important to him were now considered as rubbish, in light of his experience with the Messiah. When we go through trials we too must evaluate them in light of what יהוה is doing for us, and as a believer we can and should have joy in the midst of trials – for we live for the things that matter most in Him and not the things of this world. Trials will always help us evaluate our walk and remain humbled in worship unto יהוה, constantly recognising our dependence upon Him.
The term ‘all joy’ is also critically important to us as it speaks of ‘all joy’, ‘all’ being the key to the amount of joy – it means whole joy – filled with joy leaving no room for doubt or worry! יהושע could endure the stake because of the joy that was set before Him – the joy of returning to heaven and the joy of one day sharing His full esteem with His body of believers. The Greek word that is translated as ‘joy’ is χαρά chara – Strong’s G5479 which means, ‘joy, delight, joyfully, rejoicing’, and comes from the root verb χαίρω chairō – Strong’s G5463 which means, ‘be glad, joyful, thrive, give one’s greeting and approval’.
Our values determine our evaluation. I mean it is like this: if we value comfort over character then trials will upset us; if we value the material and physical over the spiritual then we will not be able to ‘count it all joy’. If we live our lives for the present and we forget the future then trials will make you bitter and not better. Iyoḇ had the right attitude toward trials:
Iyoḇ/Job 23:10 “For He knows the way that I take. When He has tried me, I would come forth as gold.”
So, when trials come – give thanks to יהוה and adopt a joyful attitude, for he allows such trials as a test that is intended to show the validity, not the weakness, of our belief. We must look at trials through the eyes of belief – remember outlook determines outcome – if we begin with joy we will end with joy!
But How – it sounds easier than what it is – how do we rejoice in the midst of trials and difficulties?
Well, that brings us to:
2 – AN UNDERSTANDING MIND – KNOWING!
The Greek word that is translated as ‘knowing’ in verse 3 is γινώσκω ginōskō – Strong’s G1097 which means, ‘to perceive, to learn, to come to know, comprehend, understand, recognise, learn to know, get a knowledge of’.
As we sit under the instructions of our Creator and Redeemer, we learn to know Him and get a knowledge of who He is and come to know how we are to live in obedience to His clear Torah. There are so many liars out there today who claim to know Elohim, yet they have no knowledge of His Torah at all, as they refuse to sit and learn His Word – how can they know Him!!! It is one thing to claim that you know Him, yet whether we know Him or not is seen in the fruit of our obedience to His commands, and all will be clearly revealed when He returns – as many will come running claiming they know Him yet will be rejected!
What is it that believers know that makes it easier or rather should make it easier for them to face trials and actually benefit from them?
Well, there are a few things that we know through the Word of Truth and firstly:
A – Belief is always tested!
We know that belief is tested – in fact belief that cannot be tested cannot be trusted!
Ok, so you say you believe and trust for ‘x… y… and z…’: well, how do you know – has your belief been tested in that area? יהוה tests our belief to bring out the best in us. Satan certainly tries to tempt us in order to bring out the worst in us, but the testing of our belief proves that we are of Elohim and that we are His set-apart and chosen treasured possession! If we are able to look beyond the present and see the product that יהוה intends to produce through our suffering and trials, we will experience joy. This is often impossible with most people, for they value pleasure over character and the present over eternity! We know that belief is tested so as your belief grows expect the tests!
B – Testing works for us and not against us!
The Greek word used here for ‘proving’ is δοκίμιον dokimion – Strong’s G1383 meaning, ‘a proof, testing’ which comes from the word δόκιμος dokimos – Strong’s G1384 which means, ‘tested, approved’ which is from the primary root verb δέχομαι dechomai – Strong’s G1209 which means, ‘to receive, accept, welcomed’. This is very powerful and clear here in the Greek root that shows us that we need to be ‘proven or tested’ in order to be ‘approved and accepted’, hence the command to count it all joy when our belief is being ‘tested’ through trials!
Kěpha tells us that the ‘trial of our belief’ is worth more than gold! When a miner brings in some ore to be tested – the sample of ore, in itself, is not worth much, but the approval or the official statement after the testing, if approved, is worth millions, as it assures the prospector that he has a gold mine! יהוה’s approval of our belief is precious, for it assures us and Him that our belief is genuine! Trials work for a believer and not against them.
Romiyim/Romans 8:28 “And we know that all matters work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 4:17 “For this slight momentary pressure is working for us a far more exceeding and everlasting weight of esteem.”
C – Trials rightly used – help us to mature!
Trials can and will mature us if rightly used. What is it that יהוה wants to produce in our lives? It is patience, endurance and the ability to keep going when things get tough!
Romiyim/Romans 5:3-5 “And not only this, but we also exult in pressures, knowing that pressure works endurance; 4 and endurance, approvedness; and approvedness, expectation. 5 And expectation does not disappoint, because the love of Elohim has been poured out in our hearts by the Set-apart Spirit which was given to us.”
Patience is not a passive acceptance of circumstances – it is a courageous perseverance, in the face of suffering and difficulty!
Immature people are always impatient! Let me ask you, ‘When last were you impatient?’ A sign of immaturity and that maturing is required, which will happen through trials, is impatience! Impatience is immaturity, as it is always about self, where maturity leads to thinking about others above self. The mature are patient and persistent under trials! Impatience and unbelief or doubt always goes together, just as belief and patience do. We need to learn patience, for when we learn to wait on יהוה we will then see how יהוה will do great things for us! We must be careful not to run ahead of יהוה and we can learn from those who have gone before us. Aḇraham ran ahead of יהוה when he slept with Hagar, which brought sorrow into his home; Mosheh ran ahead of יהוה by killing a Mitsrian and he then learned patience while attending sheep for 40 years.
The only way that יהוה can develop patience and character in our lives is through trials. Patience cannot be obtained by simply reading a book or listening to a good message or even by a simple prayer done in haste – it is through the difficulties in life, which as we trust יהוה, read His Book and pray persistently through and walk in obedience to His Word always rejoicing that patience can be produced in us.
The end result of trials that produce patience and character is esteem to יהוה.
That is why studying Scripture helps us to grow in patience.
Romiyim/Romans 15: 4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of Scriptures we might have hope.”
יהוה has a purpose in trials and He fulfils His purposes, as we place our trust in Him. There is no substitute for an understanding mind. Scripture tells us in Hoshěa that people are dying because of a lack of knowledge. If people would but just dig into the wonder of His word, then they would gain great understanding and insight in how to face trials and be equipped to turn them into triumphs. Satan can easily defeat an ignorant believer, but the believer who knows and lives according to the Word of ě, the one who walks in His Torah, who walks in יהושע Messiah gains understanding and overcomes the wicked schemes of the enemy and can endure trials with great joy. To know is a key and understanding this helps us realise why so many believers are living in defeat and are not joyful – for they lack the knowledge that equips them to rejoice. We are to be a joyful people, making a joyful noise- because of Who and what we know! Understanding comes in the doing of the Word, and as Ya’aqoḇ reminds us in his letter – we are to be doers of the Word, showing that we have an active belief that works obedience!
The proving of our belief works endurance! The Greek word that is translated as ‘endurance’ is ὑπομονή hupomonē – Strong’s G5281 which means, ‘a patient enduring, steadfastness, perseverance, a remaining behind’, and this word comes from the Greek word ὑπομένω hupomenō – Strong’s G5278 which means, ‘to stay behind, to await, endure’, which comes from the two words:
1) ὑπό hupo – Strong’s G5259 which means ‘under, in subjection to’, and
2) μένω menō – Strong’s G3306 and means, ‘to stay, abide, remain, stand’ – which is the word that is used in Yoḥanan/John 15 where we are told to ‘stay in, remain in’ Messiah!
Proper endurance in the Master calls for us to ‘stay in’ Him and ‘be in subjection to’ Him, by guarding His commands! In Luqas/Luke 21:19 our Master tells us to ‘possess our lives by endurance’!
This call to possess our lives by endurance implies that endurance is certainly needed, especially as we live in a world that is corrupt and wicked and if one does not ‘possess by endurance’ they may just see their lives being stolen away through the influence of sin and compromise.
As faithful talmidim (disciples) of Messiah, we recognise that while He ascended to the Most Set-Apart Place, where He continually intercedes for us as our High Priest, we need to endure and be steadfast in staying in Him, as we walk in subjection to His clear Torah, bearing the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
Ḥazon/Revelation also repeatedly reminds us, in relation to what is to come in the days ahead, the clear call for the faithful endurance of the part of the set-apart ones.
‘Endurance’ is the ability to stay true to the Truth – keeping your eyes fixed on the Prince and Perfecter of our belief and running with great perseverance the race set before you.
Trials strengthen our endurance and gives us the ability to hold on to the sure hope we have in our Master and His soon return for a ready, set-apart Bride!
So far, we have looked at a joyful attitude in counting as we should as well as gaining an understanding mind through a proper applied knowledge of Elohim, as we meditate on His Torah day and night and walk wholeheartedly in obedience to His Word! The next characteristic developing the joy filled perfect endurance is to be submitted completely to the Truth – Let the Word of Elohim dwell in us richly so that His will be done and not ours:
3 – A SURRENDERED WILL – LET!
יהוה cannot build our character if we do not cooperate and surrender our will. If we resist Him He will discipline us into surrender – which we can be sure of – why? Because He loves us and disciplines those He loves. If we submit to Him – we allow Him to accomplish His work in us – and His goal for us is maturity, so that we lack nothing.
He has given us every spiritual blessing and for us to appropriate that by belief, we need to grow in maturity and we must surrender our will for His. Maturing happens through the refining process of fiery trials, and sadly too many today shelter themselves from trials and therefore never ‘grow up’.
Sha’ul outlined for us 3 works that are involved in a complete life of a believer:
1 – The work יהוה does for us – that is – salvation through the Blood of יהושע Messiah on the stake, that has bought us at a price and redeemed us for Himself, cleansing us from sin. He has worked Salvation for us as a gift, so that no man can boast in his works.
2 – The work יהוה does in us – That is through sanctification – for we are His workmanship, and we are daily being conformed to His likeness – to the likeness of the Son.
3 – The work יהוה does through us – that is through service – created in יהושע Messiah unto good works.
We are made to serve through the gifts He works in and through us.
יהוה builds character in us before He calls us to service. He must work in us before he can work through us.
25 years He worked in Aḇraham before He gave him his promised son. 13 years יהוה worked in Yosĕph through various trials before promoting him to being in charge of the affairs of Mitsrayim, bringing about deliverance for Ya’aqoḇ and his family. 80 years He worked in Mosheh, for 40 years of service!!! יהוה will work through those who submit and surrender their will to Him.
The maturing one accepts and willingly submits joyfully to doing the will of Elohim from the heart. If we go through trials without a surrendered will, without knowing Him and without having counted it all joy, then we will end up like an immature child rather than a mature adult. There are a lot of immature adults out there!!!
Yonah is a great example of one who wouldn’t surrender his will, was then disciplined and then obeyed, yet at the end he sits and is upset that יהוה didn’t send judgement on Ninewěh – he acted like a spoilt kid who didn’t get his way!!!
Another thing we can learn from Yonah is that, if we surrender and obey joyfully then we have the opportunity to witness to cities that can be saved and cause יהוה to not send His judgement, as people repent and respond to our joyful witness. We have an opportunity as children of the Most-High Elohim to be a true witness, calling people to repentance and so cause the judgement of יהוה to be halted over cities!!!
What are you doing? Have you surrendered your life to His will?
Let endurance have a perfect work! In other words, do not give up – endure and see the fruitful results!!!
The Greek word that is translated here as ‘perfect’ is τέλειος teleios – Strong’s G5046 which means, ‘having reached its end, complete, perfect, mature’ and is used in the following verse in regards to the body of Messiah being equipped unto maturity:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:13 “until we all come to the unity of the belief and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the completeness of Messiah”
This word is also used in:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:25 “But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah.”
Looking into the ‘perfect’ Torah and continuing in it – that is to be one who guards to do what is instructed in it – shall be blessed – for it is the Perfect Torah that perfects our set-apartness!
Our Master also tells us very clearly to be perfect:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:48 “Therefore, be perfect, as your Father in the heavens is perfect.”
The idea or concept of being perfect is often misunderstood by so many due to a lack of proper understanding in what this word entails and what our Master, Elohim and Saviour demands of us. Many may deem it impossible to be perfect and therefore relegate themselves to finding vain excuses for their compromised lifestyles as they find that the expectation of being perfect is a task too hard to achieve. To think as such simply reveals a level of gross immaturity that refuses to endure the necessary discipline required of a true follower and taught one of Messiah!
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 18:13 “Be perfect before יהוה your Elohim”
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘perfect’ is the adjective תָּמִים tamiym – Strong’s H8549 which means, ‘complete, whole, sound, perfect, without blemish, blameless’, and this word comes from the primitive root verb תָּמַם tamam – Strong’s H8552 which mean, ‘to be complete, to be finished, be at an end’.
This Hebrew word carries with it the more expanded meaning of being mature, whole and complete and emphasises the need to be one who is earnestly seeking to learn the Truth and abide in it and walk according to the Spirit rather than being childish and chasing after the feeble matters of the fleshly attractions that a wicked and corrupt world has to offer as an alternative.
What becomes clear as we grow in the knowledge of our Master is that we all have a choice to make, each and every day; and that is to either be set-apart and perfect before Elohim and serve Him in Spirit and Truth or fall away to the ways of the world and run after the things of the flesh that can never satisfy the spirit of a man!
The Hebraic understanding or concept of being perfect before Elohim entails one being fully committed to Elohim with their all, having their heart and mind in the right place, exercising true belief through works of righteousness and not being double-minded and unstable! In other words, to be properly perfect before Elohim means being loyal to Him while living in the midst of an unstable and wicked world that presents many corrupt ‘alternative options’ for people to follow through compromising standards that are abominable before the face of our Mighty Elohim, יהוה of Hosts!
Many may reckon that it is impossible to be perfect in an imperfect world and while they try to present an argument that they deem as a valid one, the fact is that we either obey the Word of Elohim or not and our Elohim calls us to be perfect and that we must be if we do want to see His face one day and live!
Scripture is full of examples of those who were perfect as well as many who were not and so we must take the lessons that we are able to learn from Scripture and make sure that we grow in our knowledge of our Master and grow in our set-apartness and be perfect before Him.
Being perfect before Elohim means that you will hold fast to Elohim and His Word and guard to do all He has commanded us to, despite what others are doing and despite the wickedness that we are surrounded by day in and day out!
The way to let endurance have a perfect work is… to be perfect!!!
This leads us to the 4th attribute that we see being described here in Ya’aqoḇ’s letter!
4 – A BELIEVING HEART – ASK!
Ya’aqoḇ was writing to a people who had trouble praying, as they were asking with wrong motives and he encourages them to ask for wisdom. When we are going through tough trials of any kind, we would do well to ask for wisdom. For wisdom is the right use of knowledge – if we have all the knowledge but no wisdom – how will we use the knowledge?
There are many well educated people with brilliant academic qualifications yet they cannot make simple decisions. Why do we need wisdom in trials, why not rather strength or something else? Well we need wisdom so that we will not waste the opportunities He is giving us to mature! Wisdom helps us understand how to use the circumstances for our good and for His esteem! Wisdom helps us approach the throne of favour with confidence.
Ya’aqoḇ tells us what to ask for – that is – wisdom; as well as how to ask for it – that is – by belief.
We must not be afraid to ask and we must not doubt like the waves of the sea – that is to be up one minute and down the next! How many of you have found yourself in that situation – up one minute, down the next – so much so you feel sick? Most of you, I am sure, have been to the beach and swam in the sea! Well then you know that you cannot turn your back on the sea – for you cannot trust the waves – it will hit you!
This is like a double minded man – they say yes but inwardly they are saying no! Belief says yes and doubt says no or vice versa depending upon the circumstance! Yes one minute and no the next. Kěpha, when walking on the sea to יהושע, started out with belief and then allowed doubt to cause him to sink. He was double minded and nearly drowned! Too many believers live like a cork on the waves – head above the waters, yet up one minute and down the next, being tossed back and forth. I am sure most of us have all experienced this more than we would want to and the Good news is we do not need to! Double mindedness is evidence of immaturity. Sha’ul used a similar example in saying, we who are becoming mature will not be doubled minded in our walk:
Ephesians 4:14 “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”
If we have believing and united hearts – in unity with the Spirit and the Truth, then we can ask in belief and יהוה will give the wisdom we need.
The Greek word used for ‘wisdom’ here in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:3 is σοφία Sophia – Strong’s G4678 meaning, ‘wisdom, skill, cleverness, learning’, and comes from the root word σοφός Sophos – Strong’s G4680 meaning, ‘skilled, wise, wise men’.
Sha’ul tells us in Eph’siyim/Ephesians 1 that our Master has, by the riches of His favour, lavished on us every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Messiah in all wisdom and insight, leaving us no excuse to not have the inner rooms of our beings filled with the knowledge of Elohim, in order that we be the fragrance of Messiah in every place!
After speaking some very valuable parables our Master said to His taught ones:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:52 “And He said to them, “Therefore every scholar of Scripture taught in the reign of the heavens is like a householder who brings out of his treasure matters, renewed, and old.”
As we seek for wisdom and understanding and grow in the knowledge of Elohim through being properly taught in the reign of our Master we are equipped and enabled to bring out great treasure!
The Greek word used here for ‘treasure’ is θησαυρός thēsauros – Strong’s G2344 which means, ‘treasure, storehouse, magazine, repository’, and refers to, ‘the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up’. The English word ‘thesaurus’, in general use, is a reference work that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning (containing synonyms and sometimes antonyms). The main purpose of such reference works is to help the user “to find the word, or words, by which [an] idea may be most fitly and aptly expressed”.
Do you see what treasure we have been given – it is not just some random words, but the very living Words of our Master that He has put in us, in helping us ‘find’ the proper words and actions that can be most fitly applied to every situation!
He has put His thesaurus in us, so to speak!!! His Word is so powerful that it enables us to rightly divide and discern the Truth so that we can behave and live as true set-apart ones in complete righteousness, even whilst we are in exile and are faithfully enduring, looking for the blessed expectation and esteemed appearance of the great Elohim and our Saviour יהושע Messiah!
We are blessed when we endure through trials – this is a great encouragement and beatitude Ya’aqoḇ gives us – there is in it the promise of the crown of life to those who patiently endure trials! He is not saying that a sinner is saved by enduring trials, no for salvation is not of works but a gift by favour through belief! He is saying that a believer is rewarded by enduring trials. How? Well, firstly by growth in character, bringing esteem to יהוה and receiving the crown of life when יהושע returns. First the suffering then the esteem! Before Honour comes humility! We must humble ourselves, submit, and ask. יהוה makes tests work for us, whereas the enemy will try to use them to tear us down – praise יהוה for He uses tests to build us up in Him!
Going through trials is never easy, and in verse 12 Ya’aqoḇ uses a key word – ‘love’. You see, love is the spiritual motivation behind every imperative action we have just spoken about – love is the motive behind our trust and obedience in יהוה. Love for יהוה equips us to count and have a joyful attitude as we face trials – because we know He loves us and demonstrated that love by dying for us and taking away the penalty of our sin, which is death, by washing us white as snow and He will never harm us – He will prove us, not harm us, as long as we stay in Him. Out of a love for Him we can know and gain an understanding mind – for He has shared His Truth with us and our love for Him will compel us to know Him and study His Word and walk in His Perfect Torah. Where there is no love there is no surrender or obedience and so we let Him work in and through us as we surrender to Him out of a love for Him. Asking then becomes easy for us and the believing heart is strengthened through love, for belief and love goes together – that is – a belief that works!!! When you love someone, you trust them and do not hesitate to ask for help.
If we truly love יהוה we will have no problem counting, knowing, letting and asking and love will keep us being trustworthy in rejoicing in Him. The believer who loves יהוה knows that יהוה loves them and will not fall apart when trials come for they are secure in יהוה’s love!
Attitude toward trials is certainly key, for love for יהוה helps us have the right attitude and that is to rejoice and praise His name. As his children we can be sure of his purposes to mature us and perfect us in יהושע Messiah, we can be sure of the goodness of יהוה and we can be sure of His Word that stands forever.
Understanding how to respond to trials will help us overcome temptations, as we learn to be swift to hear, which means hear and obey, not just hear.
We, in seeking growth unto maturity, must hear, guard and do His Word, as we look into the perfect Torah of freedom. We must not simply glance at it, but look intently into His torah, so that we may do His Torah with great joy and passion for Him. For then we can be expectant of Elohim’s aid in all circumstances and can be secure of our identity in Him and evaluate our lives, as we look into His perfect Torah and accept our responsibility for our choices that we make and the calling He has for us.
We must embrace our responsibility to walk His way no matter what we face and know that in doing so, we can expect only good gifts from Him, for every good gift comes from above!
Perhaps you have gone through, or are going through, various trials – welcome to the club of the maturing – His purpose in trials is maturing – and if that is what you want – to become mature lacking nothing – and you want to turn your trials into triumphs – then, in a continual response to His Love for you, in love unto Him – count – know – let and ask! And may we truly use our breath to bring him praise, aměn!
When you count, know, let and ask, then you will experience blessing of enduring trials and:
THE JOY OF PERFECT ENDURANCE!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face upon you and give you peace!