James – Trials, Maturity, and Wisdom

I recently taught a six week series on James to our youth group.  I ended up learning so much from God while preparing for these lessons that I thought I would share them with you, plus maybe add a few more. But, before I get started, I want to tell you a little about James himself.

James was the half-brother of Jesus so he would have grown up under Jesus’s shadow. Can you imagine being Jesus’s little brother? “Jesus never gave me this much trouble, James. Why can’t you be more like your brother Jesus?” And on and on. That would be a tough life growing up. Even if you were never compared to your perfect older brother, I think it would be in the back of your mind, “They love Jesus more than me because he’s the perfect child. They never tell Jesus he has to clean his room.” Maybe this is why James didn’t become a Christ follower until after Jesus’s death and resurrection. Honestly, that’s the way to go. If you are the Son of God, God in human form, and your family doesn’t believe you, die and come back to life.  There’s no denying it then.

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Ok, all joking aside, James really was Jesus’s half-brother and he really didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God until after He died and was resurrected. But when he finally had that light bulb moment, it stuck.  And from his walk with Christ (literally, he walked with Jesus, it was just before he believed Jesus was God) came, in my opinion, one of the most informative books of the bible.  He wrote this letter to Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. It’s only five chapters long, but it is packed with some awesome words to live by.  Don’t just read James, apply these words to your life.

Alright let’s dive in to James chapter 1.  We will be studying this chapter for at least the first two posts.

Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds

-James 1:2 (NIV), emphasis added

I think that there is a common misconception that once you become a Christian that all of your problems will be solved, nothing bad is going to happen to you, you will never face another challenging day in your life.  It’s not true.  We all will have trials in this life, Christians and non-Christians alike. James tells us in verse 2 WHENEVER you face trials, not if you face trials, meaning we will all have trials in this life.

Some of us have trials on the horizon, a storm in our future. Some just finished a trial and you are breathing a sigh of relief.  The rest are going through the trial right now. Divorce, death, financials issues, depression, illness, job loss; the list could go on forever.  You’re in the eye of the storm and you’re tired, weary, downtrodden, and ready to give up on life.  Before you give up all hope, keep reading James.

Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

‭‭-James‬ ‭1:2-5‬ ‭(NIV)‬‬


James tells us why we go through trials as Christians and that there are two main reasons why God allows us to go through trials.

1. Trials are the pathway maturity (verse 4).

Think about how you matured from a child to a teenager to an adult (if you’ve made it that at far). When you leaned to walk you fell many times before taking those first, uneasy steps. Growing and maturing isn’t easy, it’s painful.  You grow by failing, by scraping your knees, by thinking you know everything just to learn you know nothing.  It’s how all of us mature, and if we don’t learn the lesson the first time, we will fail again.

We mature the same way spiritually.  We fail, we fall, we scrape our knees.  We think we know everything about God one to find out we were wrong. The trials God allows us to go through lead us to spiritually maturity, and just like with growing up, if you don’t learn the lesson the first time, God will allow you to go through the same trial again and again, until you learn the lesson.

There are several reasons God has allowed me to go through trials:

  • Purify my faith
  • Teach me patience
  • To make me more like Jesus
  • To grow and glorify God

This is only a few ways we mature when God allows us to go through trial.

The second reason God allows us to go through trials:

2. Trials help us grow in wisdom (verse 5).

When your life is at it’s best, when everything is going great, the sun is shining you have a song on your lips, how do you act towards God?  I be most of you have the same issue I have; when life is good you don’t have your heart and mind set on God.  You begin to think you know best and that you know how to go about life, what path to take.  It’s not until you start going through a tough trial do you begin to see that you truly need God.  When things start to go wrong we tend to ask God why, “Why God, why is this happening?” When you start to ask why, you begin to cling to God and he wants you to ask for wisdom and for His guidance, not your own.

As trials come we should submit to God and say, “I don’t understand why, but I know God is allowing this to mature me and give me wisdom.  He is trying to form me more and more into the image of Jesus.  I will pray and cling to God.  I will ask for His guidance and His wisdom to get me through this storm. It’s not what I want, but God, you know that this is what I need.”

James has told us that we will go through trials and why God allows us to go through trials.  James also tell us what we should do as we go through trials.

Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds

-James 1:2 (NIV), emphasis added

We are to have joy in our trials.  James didn’t say joy FOR our trials, no we are supposed to have joy IN our trials.  You don’t have to be happy about the trial you are facing, “YAY, my car broke down,” “YIPPEE, I lost my job.” No!  James is telling us that whatever we are going through, we have joy, and that joy is because God is still God, He is our God and, get this…HE IS GOOD!  God can take the bad, the hurt, the pain, and make something beautiful out of it.  In our trials we just need to keep our focus on God, trust that he is in control, trust He has a purpose for our trial, and be joyful that GOD IS OUR GOD!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

-James 1:17-18 (NIV)


Everything good we have comes from God! Even the good that come from going through a trial. He doesn’t change, but He wants us to become more like Jesus so He allows us go to through the fire to be refined; to become more like Christ, because He loves us.  And because God loves us, He has given us new life through His Son Jesus.  After we have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, He lets us go through trials so we can grow and mature and become more like and closer to Him.  But He doesn’t let us go through them alone, He is with us, helping to shape us. When we are going through a trial in our lives, we need to cling to God and ask for the wisdom to understand why God is allowing it, to understand how God is wanting us to mature through the trial.  And we should be joyful, not because of the trial, but because God is God, He is good, He has given you new life through his Son Jesus and He loves you enough to help you grow and mature spiritually.


Give us the wisdom to understand why we are going through trials.  Help us to remember through those trials, that you are still God, you are good, and we have a reason to be joyful in the trial.  Help us to remember that, because you love us, you want us to grow and mature spiritually.



9 thoughts on “James – Trials, Maturity, and Wisdom

  1. shannongeurin says:

    I didn’t mean to submit that just yet! Anyway- I do love the book of James- because it’s our trials that make us strong and James give us such wisdom here to overcome. Great teaching Caytee- keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachelle says:

    This is excellent! James is one of my favorite books of the Bible, but it’s also one of the more complicated ones in my opinion.I like how you clarified the difference between joy in trials, and joy for trials. I think that is part of why people have such a hard time accepting the concept of joy in trials, because they misunderstand the intention of the text.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Caytee says:

      Thank you Rachelle! It is a difficult concept to grasp and an even harder concept to put into practice. No one wants to smile when they are having a tough time, but we have the greatest reason to smile, Jesus. I’m glad you liked the post.


  3. emilyabernathy says:

    Thanks for this message! I love how you distinguished between joy IN our trials and joy FOR our trials. This makes a lot of sense and is important in helping me understand what we are called to do. You write so well about scripture! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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