James 1:2–4 says:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
When did God start using the devil as His messenger boy to do His dirty work? Seems like an odd question I know just looking at like this, but the sad truth of the matter is many people, Christian’s included and preachers think this! They think this way when trouble, hardships or sickness comes. As a matter of fact there are whole denominations that believe God sends sickness or calamity to teach us something.
Ever heard this quote, “Well, if you don’t pay your tithes, God will get what belongs to Him one way or another”? This is a normal conversation between two believers about the need to tithe. Sort of reminds me of another quote I have heard, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This statement was made by Don Corleone to Johnny Fontane about Woltz in the movie “The Godfather”. Now don’t get me wrong I believe in tithing but God is not a gangster.
If you do not understand what God is doing and what the devil is doing, then you won’t know how to resist the things you need to resist or how to yield to the things you need to yield to. I see it and read it from people who are believers and many that are ministers. If you don’t understand the truth of God’s word about this then you will most likely not see the power of God brought forth in your life or in the life of others through you.
If you are thinking that God is the one that has allowed or even caused tragedies in your life, and if you are teaching people that the things they are going through like sickness, disease, death of a loved one or some other hardship is for the purpose of God teaching them or correcting them, then you are teaching people and believing that we should embrace our enemy. There is a problem with that! When you think bad things in life are coming from God then instead of resisting them you will embrace them, because if you resist then you would be resisting the will of God.
The above verse has been twisted and misapplied and misinterpreted so much that even someone that does not attend church thinks they know this verse and will quote it. People use this verse to try and teach that God is in control of everything in your life, and that is simply not the case. If someone hadn’t already been prejudiced with the thought that this is what this scripture was teaching, I am convinced they wouldn’t see this verse in that light. James 1:2–4 does not say that God puts troubles in your life to give you patience, or to teach you some kind of a lesson. Yet much of the Church world spreads this from pulpits across the world, “if you don’t want trouble or tribulation then don’t ask God for patience because tribulation works patience… hahaha.” That is about as funny as a train wreck.
Some will ask, “Ok, so how do we get patience then”? And “I have learned some things out of these hardships. I mean doesn’t the good book say that God will chasten his children?”
The scripture says, For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (Heb 12:6-7)
And how does He correct and discipline? With His word! Just like everything else He does, He does it by His Word. What does the scripture teach us about where patience comes from? Look with me at this word in the book of Romans:
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4
It is plain to me that patience comes from the word of God. One man said it like this “Patience is simply faith applied over a prolonged period of time. Instead of a momentary faith, patience is prolonged, enduring faith. Patience is when you just believe and keep believing.” We as believers freely quote Romans 10:17 which says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” So then if faith comes by the word of God than patience according to Romans 15:4 also comes by the word of God, and both of them are the Fruit of the Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is…long-suffering [patience], …faith. Galatians 5:22
Intellectual Knowledge vs. Experiential knowledge
Problems are not given by God to make a person better or to make them more holy or more patient. If we think they are then we will welcome those things as being from God and we will embrace things like cancer or poverty and other hardships as being from the Lord and won’t resist them. Then Satan will use them to kill you and others who have confidence in you.
I have family members in the military and they have been trained for conflict. They know there is an enemy that wants to kill them. They have had training to fight and resist the enemy. They have intellectual knowledge about how to shoot and fight and use the weapons they were given. They learned this in basic training but they had no experience with actually being in combat. But they know enough to not go and find the enemy and embrace them or get into a battle so they could gain experiential knowledge. If they embraced the enemy it would not make them a better soldier. Doing that would get them killed!
When the enemy did come they used the training and knowledge they have to resist and fight, not embrace, the enemy. True, they then gained experiential knowledge, which helps them, but no soldier goes looking for the enemy to gain experiential knowledge. You become a better soldier when you are attacked and have to put your training into practice. Likewise you became a better soldier in the army of the Lord when you resist the devil and put into practice what you have learned from God’s word. But if you don’t recognize that the problem is from the enemy and you think it is being sent from God to teach you, then you will embrace it and when you do it will destroy you.
So when the enemy is attacking you say, ‘I am going to fight this’, and when you win and overcome it does make you stronger because you put what you knew into practice and that is the whole point of what James is saying. Problems don’t come from God to make you a better Christian, they come from the enemy to destroy and kill you. That is how you know they are not from God because John 10:10 teaches us that God came to give us life, and the devil, Satan, comes to kill and destroy.
God Does Not Send The Devil To Do His Dirty Work For Him.
Years ago one of my favorite artists wrote and performed a song called, “The Package.” I have added the words below. Not really any comment needed as it speaks for itself. If you would like the link to hear this song, I have added it here.
THE PACKAGE – by Don Francisco
I was wakened in the morning’ by a knockin’ on the door
So I got up and went to see what all the knockin’ was for
There stood the Devil with a box addressed to me
He said “Boy, I’ve got something here I think you oughta see
I said, I know that I don’t want it if it’s anything from you
‘Cause I hate everything you say and don’t like anything you do
But then he pointed with his finger and he smiled kinda sly
‘Cause the package said “from God” there in the corner, way up high
So I said, “if it’s from God, then why’d He send it here by you”
He said, “He always sends me when there’s dirty work to do”
And this box is full of misery, poverty and shame
To perfect you thru your suffering ’till you’re worthy of His name
Well, I’d been pretty patient, but that last line took the cake
I just couldn’t take no more, I’d taken all that I could take
So I told him what I thought of him and all his filthy lies
Then I fired a shot that got him right between the eyes
I told him “Jesus took my sickness and my poverty away
You nailed Him to the cross yourself when you murdered Him that day
The suf’ring that I do will be for love and not for shame
I’m already worthy by His blood, to wear His name
And I know my Father loves me and has only good in store
So you just take that jive and get away from my front door
You can write my name on packages until I’m ninety two
But every single one I’m sending back to Hell with you”
Go on get out of here
If we being a natural father would not abuse our children or sicken them them to teach them a lesson, then why would we believe that our loving Father our “Abba” would? The term “Abba” is an affectionate term that a young child calls his father, we would say “daddy.” It is a word used to express intimacy and shows the kind, gentle and loving nature of our God, a word that express affection and fondness. It removes the idea of God as a strict hard law and order judge and carries the image of Him as a loving Father who cares, understands, and is our best friend.
So much more I would like to write, about this topic and actually did but deleted it. Many today would be shocked to find out that they have become as religious as those they talked about being religious years ago.
Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone
AV, K. J. (1611). King James Version .
Francisco, D. (n.d.). The Package [Recorded by D. Francisco]. On The Package.
Strong, J. ((1996, 1997)). The New Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. Retrieved from www.geverett.org
Wommack, A. (1997-2012). The Living Commentary. Andrew Wommack Ministries. Retrieved from www.awmi.net