Scripture: James 1:12 and Matthew 4:1-11
Incarnated Jesus was baptized to be like a sinner. And he was tempted to help those who are being tempted (Heb. 2:18). While he was under trial in this reason, he remained steadfast. There are three ways for us to remain steadfast under trial. First, we should know the nature of trial. Second, we need to know the purpose of trial. And thirdly, we should know the words of God.
The nature of trial is that it comes when we don't expect, as it came to Jesus after his prayer and fast. So there's no safe moment. Also, right after one failed, the tempter tried another way, which means that trial is not one time thing. It comes again and again. And the tempter approaches. It happens near me.
The purpose of trial is to break the relationship by making us doubt about God and His promise. That's why he asked 'if' you are the Son of God, although he was the Son of God. That's the tempter's purpose. However, God's purpose to allow the trials is to prove the relationship and to make the relationship deeper.
Every time Jesus was tempted, he used the Scriptures to stand against it. It is the same way for us to remain steadfast under trials. When Satan asked Jesus to make bread so that he can solve the physical problems of human, Jesus came to resolve the problems of spiritual hunger (Deut. 8:3). When the tempter asked Jesus to jump off from the top of the temple so that he can test whether God's words are true or not, Jesus did not listen to him because Jesus' purpose is not to survive on the earth but to save his people from their sins, by obeying the words even to death. Our attitude to God's words is supposed to obey not to doubt and test (Deut. 6:16). When Satan ask Jesus to worship him by promising to give all the world, Jesus refused because God is only one who is worthy of worship and worship is not for us to get something (Deut. 6:13).
James says that those who stood the test will receive the crown of life. And Abraham father of faith is the example of this. Even though he failed here and there, he passed the final trial by obedience.
After God led him to Shechem, he was told that God would give him this land. However, when he met the severe famine, he decided to go to Egypt. There, he was able to avoid the famine. Not only that, but also he became rich by telling a lie. It was a smart decision, yet it was not the way of faith. He seemed to succeed, but he lost the promised land. In the place where he fail, God intervened. And Abraham was able to come back to the land of Canaan by the grace of God. Abraham's fail was not God's fail. And God used his failure to the test as means of his revelation.
In his last test, God told him to sacrifice his only son - everything - as a burnt offering. Although it contradicts God's character and promise, Abraham obeyed. Heb. 11:19 says that he reasoned that God could raise the dead. It was shown in Gen. 12:5. By obedience, he was able to stand the test. The angel of the Lord told him, 'Now I know that you fear God.' This doesn't mean that he never knew before. It means that it was known (proved) by this event. His faith was proved through this trial. And Abraham was molded into the carrier of God's blessing to the world. This is the example of standing the trial by obedience.
James asked the believers to count the trials as all joy in the midst of trials in the previous verses, and here, he said that the poor should take pride in high position, while the rich ought to boast his humiliation. To make it happen, we need to reform our perspectives.
No one takes his own perspective by studying, nor choose theirs out of many perspectives. It is naturally formed by our knowledge, experience, and frame - repeated practices. Considering trials as joy is having a different perspectives on trials. In this way, both boasting one's high position in poverty and delight in humiliation in wealth requires new perspective - reformed perspective. How can we reform our perspective? We can change our perspective through knowledge, experience and new frame. (Knowledge - By knowing the fact that poverty and wealth are the means not the end for Christians, Experience - going through the time in want and the time in plenty, Frame - by exposing to the situation that you have to do it by force)
James says to the recipients of the letter that they should consider their trials as pure joy. It implies that the believers are expected to face the trials in their lives. And their proper way to respond to the trial is considering it as joy. It is different from enjoying the trial itself (Masochism). Although trial is not a good thing itself, there are two reasons for us to 'consider' it as joy. First, the trial produces endurance in us. Everyone needs endurance because that's the way we can achieve something, even a small thing. And James 1:12 says that 'Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.' Another reason to have endurance is to love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 talks about love. And it starts with love is patient and it ends with love endures all things. Loving something different from me requires endurance. Therefore, we need endurance which can be cultivated through trials.
Also, trials reveals our lack of wisdom. In order for us to consider the trial joy, we need wisdom, which is seeing further. If we can see what's coming next through the trials, we can consider it joy. But what if we don't have wisdom? We can ask God (v.5). God is the one who gives wisdom without reproach. This character of God is the ground that we can pray without any doubt and it encourages us to pray, since it assures God's answer to us.