An epistle written to us. Where do temptations come from? If anyone lacks wisdom. What does it mean to waiver? Hearing intensely and comprehending still isn’t enough.
[00:00:15] Jason: Welcome to the weekly Deep Dive podcast on the Add on Education Network. The podcast where we take a look at the weekly come follow me discussions and try to add a little insight and unique perspective. I am your host, Jason Lloyd, here in the studio with our friend and this show’s producer, Nate Pyfer. Yes, sir.
[00:00:33] Nate: Yes, sir. You are. You are here with me. I am here with you, our friend.
[00:00:37] Jason: Happy to be here with you.
[00:00:38] Nate: I’m happy to be here with you, too, buddy. I’m sorry that we’re a day late.
I have a baby that’s teething, and I’ve needed to be helping at home and not family gallivanting down to the studio to record podcast, but family first. But we’re here.
[00:00:51] Jason: I’m glad we get to do this and we get to enjoy doing this, but at the end of the day, family first.
[00:00:56] Nate: It is. Sorry that it’s a day late, everybody.
[00:00:58] Jason: Thanks for your patience.
[00:00:59] Nate: It’s my bad on this one.
[00:01:00] Jason: Don’t even worry about it. Don’t even sweat it. We’re happy to do this, and we’re happy that you’re tuning in.
[00:01:05] Nate: We do appreciate it. Thank you for being patient.
[00:01:08] Jason: All right, we’re coming in with good vibes, man. We were just reflecting on last week’s discussion. Come follow me. And Hebrews.
[00:01:15] Nate: Good one.
[00:01:15] Jason: It’s just fun.
[00:01:16] Nate: It was a good one.
[00:01:17] Jason: There’s one scripture that I didn’t notice last week. That I noticed this week from last week.
[00:01:23] Nate: Okay.
[00:01:23] Jason: That just makes me laugh. It’s a short one. I’m ready. Hebrews, chapter ten, verse 31. It is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of the living God.
And it’s kind of talking about, I think, responsibility sometimes. It’s a fearful thing to fall in the hands of a living God. Lord, I’m willing to do what you want me to do. Well, that’s a fearful thing that you’re signing up for. Who knows what’s going to follow as we’re talking about all those examples of faith? It’s a fearful thing to fall in the hands of a living God.
[00:01:56] Nate: I like it.
[00:01:57] Jason: We’re going to have some other ones here this week. We get to talk about James. I am excited for James. Okay.
And first, I think we need to go through a little bit of a lesson on the name James.
[00:02:09] Nate: Okay. You know, I love this stuff because it’s weird.
[00:02:12] Jason: James is one of the weirdest names, I think, in the New Testament. Not weird as far as it’s just.
[00:02:17] Nate: Not very Hebrew y, right.
[00:02:19] Jason: Well, that’s the weird thing, right? It comes from the Hebrew Jacob. And you’re like, wait, what? How did James come from Jacob? And in Spanish, it’s Santiago. And you’re like, wait, what? Okay, how did we get Santiago from James? Or.
So let me break down the Spanish to Latin a little bit, and let’s play with this name.
Saint. Saint, right? Tiago. And you’re like, Tiago. Why? Saint Tiago. And Tiago is Yago, which is actually. You can almost hear it from there. Yago coming from Yaakov, which is Jacob. Okay.
And the James also from the Hebrew.
Yakomas from the Latin. So really Latin is what’s kind of throwing the wrench in the Hebrew here. Yakomos becomes James, but it’s also from the Jacob. So in his time, his name’s probably actually Jacob, but it comes weirdly translated from the Hebrew and the Greek and the Latin to the English to where we refer to him as James. Some Bibles, you’ll actually see Jacobus. Jacobus.
And if you read in Spanish, you’ll see Santiago. Okay, but it’s kind of weird.
[00:03:36] Nate: I don’t read in Spanish, so I will never see.
[00:03:40] Jason: Sorry, sorry, Santiago.
[00:03:43] Nate: Sorry, Santiago.
[00:03:44] Jason: Just kind of a little interesting tidbit for you. Okay. And as we’re talking about James, Jacob, whoever you are, and it does come from the Hebrew supplanter. Remember Jacob? Esau, the substitute, the replacement, the guy that kind of takes the spot.
We don’t know exactly who this James is. There’s Peter, James and John. And James. And John, if you remember, are the sons of Thunder. It’s thunder boanergies. Right. Zebedee. And James becomes the first martyr after Christ. Around 42 AD, he gets killed with a sword. So most likely this is not that James that we’re talking about. Jesus had a brother named James, and that’s kind of the camp that I’m in. I believe that this James is James, the brother of Jesus, who becomes an apostle later on to maybe even take James’spot. James is replaced with a James. Could be that he’s not, but I think there’s a pretty compelling argument that he is. And if that’s the case, then you look at James, the brother of Jesus, and where he came from, and I think this is going to actually make this book even more powerful.
When Jesus, remember as a time of feasting was coming where everyone had to go to Jerusalem, his brothers were antagonist.
Antagonistic. Antagonist towards.
And I just flipped that the wrong way anyways, antagonistic towards him and saying, go to Jerusalem. And he’s saying, well, they’re going to try to kill me. And he’s like, yeah, great, even better, go. And then that’s when Jesus comes back with his awesome brotherly response.
My time is not yet, but your time is whenever you can die tomorrow and nobody’s going to care. That’s a pretty brotherly thing to say.
So his brothers were not very pro Jesus initially. I don’t know, maybe the resurrection had something to do with James seeing things differently. But for whatever reason, he kind of comes and becomes an apostle. So he’s a little bit similar to Paul in being from one extreme to another extreme, and maybe being not the great brother to Christ, to becoming a really good brother to Christ. And I think that helps him as he’s trying to address. And this is the key, I think, to understanding James. Now, James was one of my favorite books to read as a kid. That sounds odd. I like proverbs. I like James. And it’s not even necessarily for the James 15 that we get with Joseph Smith. I like James for when he’s talking about self control and controlling the tongue. And if a guy can rule his tongue, he can rule the world. And for whatever reason, that resonated with me. I liked the idea of that.
But James, let’s go to chapter one, verse one. It says, james, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
And that’s different than every epistle we’ve read so far. If you look at this, Paul’s writing to the Corinthians, to the Romans, to the Gentiles, and In one instance, we got a letter written to the Hebrews. And so up to this point in the New Testament, everything has been focused or directed towards either the Gentiles or the Jews. James is separate, and that he addresses this epistle to the lost tribes who are scattered.
How are you writing to a people that doesn’t exist, that’s scattered? How do you deliver a message to somebody who is lost?
Who are these lost people that he’s talking about? And so when I think about James and what this book means, I feel that he is writing to us in our time, to a time when what was lost is going to be found, and to the Israel today, who’s going to be gathered in and pulled in. So that makes James all the more powerful. For me, it’s not that he’s writing to some group of people, to their customs and their traditions, and to the Jews or to the Corinthians, and to how they believe and their paganistic ideas. James is separate in the New Testament in that he’s almost reaching through time and talking to us, which actually makes it all the more powerful. When you read James one five, if any of you. Wait, who are you talking to? If any of you scattered Israel, who are looking to be found, who are trying to find God, lack wisdom, let him ask of God.
And it’s incredible that it’s the Book of James that reaches Joseph Smith’s heart, which kicks off the Restoration, which kicks off the returning of Israel. It’s just fitting. It’s fitting. So that’s why James, to me, tends to resonate or maybe even be a little bit more powerful as I read through some of these books.
All right, let’s go through. Let’s see, verse two. So I told you last week that there was one verse that really kind of struck me as funny. Verse two is what strikes me as funny this week.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations.
Who wouldn’t count it as joy? I don’t know. I’m trying to think about this, Nate. What does it mean to fall into diverse temptations? And, you know, money can be tempting or power, or maybe fine dining or lots of sugAr, or maybe overindulgence.
[00:09:23] Nate: Why are you just taking shots at me, dude?
[00:09:25] Jason: I’m just talking about temptations in general. Right.
[00:09:28] Nate: Why are you going down my laundry list?
[00:09:30] Jason: Well, I’m saying verse two, my brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations. I’m like, I think that’s a given. I would be pretty happy in those circumstances, too. I don’t know. That’s why it seems so funny to me. It just count it as joy if you fall into temptation. I’m reminded of Monty Python in the Holy Grail when, sir, was it Galahad?
[00:09:51] Nate: Galahad, dude.
[00:09:51] Jason: Yeah. And then he’s like, don’t save me from these temptations. Count it as joy that maybe I should be tempted a little bit longer. Oh, my gosh. What a reference.
Yeah, it just sounds a little bit funny. And I read that and I’m like, well, yeah, I think a lot of people find joy in temptations.
Maybe this verse doesn’t quite read the way it sounds.
It sounds a little off. It just makes me chuckle. Okay, so in trying to understand this, I went to temptations, and I looked at the Greek here, and the word is not temptation per se, but trial.
And when we’re talking about trial, I think we hear trial, and we’re very familiar with that. And we automatically associate trial with a burden, a hard thing, but the word trial is really a test or approve, like in an experiment. This is trial number one, this is trial number two. Or you think about trying to pass a test or a time trial, and if you need to qualify for a race, we’re only taking those that can represent us that are going to be able to meet a specific standard. And so when we’re talking about trials here, he’s saying these trials are proving to see if you’re going to meet certain standards, conditions, whatever the case may be, experiments. Think about that as trials. And so when we have our trials, our proving grounds, to see what we’re made of and how we hold firm or what we’re going to do. That’s what he says. Find it joy when you fall into these opportunities to see what you’re made of, which is a little bit different than find it joyful when you’re stuck in a movie theater with the doors locked and all you have to do is just enjoy movies for the next.
[00:11:41] Nate: That’s a tough trial.
[00:11:42] Jason: Maybe that’s.
Yeah, so keep that in mind when we’re talking about trials because James is going to have an interesting discussion on this.
In fact, maybe let’s keep going with trials and then we’ll sneak back to chapter five because then let me ask you this question. This is it, Nate, we’ve got it teed up for you.
Who gives us trials then? Who’s the one testing and proving us? Anyone want to take a.
[00:12:11] Nate: I know. So I am going to use the drop, but I want to push back against that just a little bit. Jesus.
[00:12:18] Jason: You would think Jesus.
[00:12:19] Nate: Of course I was going to say Jesus. Yes, Jesus.
[00:12:21] Jason: I would think Jesus too. I thought Jesus the first time I come across.
[00:12:25] Nate: Okay, so good. But that’s not your answer either, then.
[00:12:28] Jason: It’S not right, good. All right.
[00:12:31] Nate: Okay, good. I thought you were trying to set me up. I mean, you know, I’m for sure using the drop, but no, that’s just.
[00:12:38] Jason: What hit me when I, when I thought, wait a minute, because this is so James, chapter one, verse 13. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. You’re like, wait, what?
For how long have we been doing this podcast? And I’m telling you over and over again that some of our greatest temptations come from God, was it not?
[00:13:03] Nate: Well, temptations as in opportunities to have like a trial. But I don’t think we’ve ever suggested God is suggesting that he’s the one tempting us to go and rob a bank.
[00:13:18] Jason: No. So that’s where I go with most of our temptations, I don’t think, are to go rob a bank or go to do something wrong. I think a lot of our temptations come when God asks us to do something.
Take, for example, Jonah being asked to go preach the Gospel to Nineveh. To him. Was that not his greatest trial?
[00:13:43] Nate: Okay, now, I know that we’re using these words interchangeably. I just don’t want to, because a temptation and a trial are different.
I know that in context of this, we’re using it interchangeably, but the thing is.
But if you just use it interchangeably, how we understand the word, I don’t think it’s right to suggest that God ever tempts us to go and break a commandment.
[00:14:10] Jason: Right? No.
[00:14:11] Nate: What we consider a temptation.
[00:14:13] Jason: Right. And I think that that’s why the translation here becomes poor, because we keep using the word temptation over and over and over again.
[00:14:22] Nate: Yes.
[00:14:24] Jason: It’s trial.
[00:14:24] Nate: Okay, this is my point. I’m just making sure that we’re being very clear about this, that’s all.
[00:14:28] Jason: Okay, so in verse 13, let no man say when he is tried. Let me just clean up the language. I am tried of God. For God cannot be tried with evil. Neither tryth he any man.
[00:14:40] Nate: See, this is where I think, though, that the word temptation is an accurate.
[00:14:45] Jason: It fits better, doesn’t it?
[00:14:46] Nate: It does. Because I totally disagree that God doesn’t give us trials. That goes against everything that we talk.
Okay, okay. Stop with the thing for a minute. Let’s talk about this, okay?
Yes, absolutely. God gives us trials.
[00:15:05] Jason: And that’s what we’ve been talking about for how long, Nate, all Old Testament, we’re saying the biggest trial for Abraham was when God asked him, not when Satan tried to tempt him to go do something wrong, but God asking him to sacrifice his son.
[00:15:18] Nate: So in this context, in this scripture, temptation as we use it, I feel like fits better with what the Scriptures say. Do you disagree with this?
[00:15:25] Jason: I don’t disagree with it, but that’s not what the word’s saying. Right. And it’s saying that God wouldn’t be trying his people, he wouldn’t be testing his people.
[00:15:32] Nate: But doesn’t he say, sorry, James, be.
That’s. That literally would be going against everything that God has proven.
[00:15:42] Jason: Here we have this point. Here we have our dissonance, Nate. Here we have our dissonance. Yeah.
[00:15:46] Nate: So I think that using the word temptation here is the correct word to use. And tell me if I’m wrong.
[00:15:54] Jason: No. And I’ll give you another example. Right. We talked about Jonah. We talked about Abraham.
Wasn’t Moses’greatest trial having to go back and pull freaking Israel? I know Those knuckleheads out of Egypt.
[00:16:08] Nate: So then James is either using the incorrect word here or worth overthinking this and should be using the word that’s in there.
If you would like to offer up, I’m asking you then to offer up the counterpoint to that.
[00:16:28] Jason: My thought, because I’m trying to square this up, too, because for me, this was something that was kind of shocking, too, because I would think Jesus, I would think God is the one who’s giving us these trials.
[00:16:41] Nate: Not all of them, but yes, God is allowed to give us trials. Yes.
[00:16:45] Jason: Isn’t God the one who was wrestling with Jacob all night long? Yes. It’s not the devil? Yes. And isn’t the hardest thing to do sometimes to give up whatever to sacrifice our time, our labor, everything that we have to build up? Isn’t that what God’s asking us to do that we find a hard time with?
[00:17:02] Nate: Yeah, I’m with you. Continue.
[00:17:05] Jason: And so I think where the trial comes isn’t that God is asking us. I don’t think that’s the trial.
God asking us to do that. Maybe we delight in serving the Lord. Maybe that’s not a problem. Maybe where the trial comes is when we see the bowl of lentils sitting there that looks so good that we fall off of doing what God is asking us to do. Maybe it’s not that what God is asking us to do is the trial, as much as we see the alternative to what God is asking us to do. And that’s the trial. God says, don’t eat of the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve are sitting there in the garden, and then somebody else comes and says, this is how God got his knowledge. You can be just like the gods if you do this. Let me offer you an alternative that looks better. Is that the trial? Will you take an alternative to what God’s doing? That’s where you’re being tested.
[00:18:03] Nate: Do you think that for our benefit, God puts things in our paths that are hard to overcome?
[00:18:14] Jason: Why are they hard to overcome?
[00:18:16] Nate: Because we’re human and we’re supposed to go through trials so that we can become stronger and learn from something?
[00:18:23] Jason: Would you say that it’s the natural man that makes them hard to overcome?
[00:18:27] Nate: Let’s talk about something Functionally.
When I was 17 years old. I jacked up my knee playing basketball, and I thought it was the end of the world. I’ve been able to look back since and realize it was the greatest blessing I’d ever been given. But at the time, it was the biggest trial. I had to learn how to overcome and still hang on and believe that I hadn’t been forgotten about from God.
I thank God every day.
[00:18:55] Jason: Okay, let’s look at that example.
[00:18:57] Nate: I thank God every day that I was presented that trial to learn how to overcome.
[00:19:01] Jason: Let’s look at that trial. Let’s break that down.
[00:19:03] Nate: Okay.
[00:19:03] Jason: What was the trial?
What was so hard about that for you?
[00:19:07] Nate: Because I had spent so much time and effort and prayer and faith and this whole thing that it’s like I’m going to dedicate myself to something and then did got really good at this one thing, was on a path to relative personal success with this one thing, and then had that thing completely taken away.
[00:19:37] Jason: So the trial is losing that one thing that you wanted.
[00:19:42] Nate: Yeah.
[00:19:44] Jason: Did God take that away from you?
[00:19:46] Nate: Yes, and I thank him every day for it.
[00:19:50] Jason: Do you think God is the one that hurt you?
[00:19:54] Nate: I’ve thought about that, yeah, I think so.
I mean, I don’t think he came down, but again, is God the one that hurt Jacob?
[00:20:09] Jason: Yes.
[00:20:09] Nate: Okay. I don’t think that it’s outside of the realm of possibility to think that God might go, hey, I’m going to put something in your way right now so that I can save you from this and let you overcome this. And then in the future look back and be like, oh, my goodness, that completely happened for a reason.
[00:20:32] Jason: And the trial, then it becomes changing your passion. Right.
[00:20:36] Nate: Or understanding something.
[00:20:38] Jason: Yeah. Or giving up something that you wanted so bad?
[00:20:41] Nate: Yes. Yeah, I’m with you.
[00:20:43] Jason: But is that something that you wanted so bad?
[00:20:48] Nate: Not unrighteously? No.
[00:20:53] Jason: I would argue that. That you have to give up, that you don’t want to give up is the trial.
[00:21:00] Nate: There was nothing unrighteous about my not.
[00:21:03] Jason: Saying that there’s anything unrighteous about it.
[00:21:10] Nate: At a certain point, maybe this is going to come down to semantics, but.
No, I disagree. That’s all I’m saying. I disagree. I think for our benefit, absolutely. God allows us and gives us certain obstacles to overcome so that we can become stronger and made better through it.
[00:21:32] Jason: Maybe I’ll say it like this and see if this resonates. Okay.
Let’s say that God has a plan.
[00:21:40] Nate: I hope so.
[00:21:42] Jason: And let’s say that we have a different plan.
[00:21:45] Nate: Okay.
[00:21:47] Jason: And then when God says, here is my plan, and that requires that we give up our plan to follow his totally with you, the trial comes in that we don’t want to let go of what we have. And it’s not that God.
[00:22:04] Nate: Sometimes, totally sometimes, I’m just not willing to say that definitively. Every single trial that we learn how to overcome is because our intentions were wrong or our vision was misplaced or it was our plan versus God’s plan.
And by the way, too, I also am completely unwilling to just say that, by the way, that’s still not a trial that’s being presented to us.
[00:22:35] Jason: Well, then what is?
[00:22:37] Nate: Maybe we got to look at that, right? I know I’m with you, and I see where you’re coming from with this. All I’m saying is it’s just so much more of a vast understanding of a trial than to go, well, sorry. The whole reason this is a trial is because you were doing something else instead of God’s plan. No. Me working my butt off for an entire summer to, by the way, be completely disciplined and to learn discipline and to learn all of these things that, by the way, served me in overcoming that trial. By the way, I’m completely unwilling to suggest that all of this was because I was going against God’s plan and that the trial was me just realizing, like, oh, no, my plan.
The only reason this was a trial for me to overcome is because my plan was off. And that was something from. Because, by the way, too, I never, at any point in that process, felt like I had been being told to do anything different. And by the way, as a huge part of the process of me trying to get better and trying to learn discipline was very much in reading my scriptures and trying to work on myself from the inside as well. And at no point was there ever dissonance in this idea that I was doing something contrary to God’s plan for me.
[00:24:01] Jason: Yeah, I would argue with you. It’s a great point that everything up to that point was probably right in line with where you’re supposed to be, what you’re supposed to be doing.
[00:24:13] Nate: And then, thank God, there was an intervention in there, and I was presented a trial that, by the way, I learned so much from, as well as learning how to go. Okay, cool. I need to accept that there is something to learn even through failure. There is something to learn even through things not going as planned. And, by the way, that’s probably served me just as much, if not more, in life than it would have been for me to be relatively successful at something. And then it’s not like I was ever going to go play in the NBA or probably even college. Do you see what I mean? I’m just saying that trial was the greatest blessing that I had been given. So I guess if you want to just say, cool, then maybe you don’t get to call it a trial. Well, in the moment, it was a trial.
[00:25:05] Jason: No, it’s a trial.
Let’s break it down then, in the way that James puts it.
[00:25:12] Nate: Okay, what’s the test?
[00:25:15] Jason: What’s being proven? What’s being tested in that scenario?
[00:25:21] Nate: If I can still hold on. Because I can tell you I felt abandoned by God. Absolutely. And as a teenager, I don’t think that at the time, I wasn’t equipped personally to be able to think bigger picture than that. But for me, I’m just telling you, that was my trial. I’m like, I’ve done all of this work spiritually. I’ve done all of this work physically.
I feel like if I’m doing these things, then I should be able to ask for and receive certain blessings again.
You can say that my understanding of that is right or wrong, but at the time, there was no dissonance in me feeling like that.
[00:26:05] Jason: I like that. I like that. And if that’s the trial, right, will you still hold on then? What’s the pull to not hold on? What’s the source of that? That’s trying to get you to let go?
[00:26:19] Nate: Now we’re talking about temptation again.
[00:26:22] Jason: Yes.
[00:26:23] Nate: Okay.
This is why I’m wanting to define these words and use these words better. You can say, and I would agree with you, that the temptation would be.
[00:26:34] Jason: Would it be a test if there wasn’t that? Okay, this is great.
[00:26:38] Nate: See, you and I are completely in alignment here, which is the temptation would be not from God, because the temptation is to go. You’ve been abandoned.
That doesn’t mean, though, that the trial couldn’t be absolutely have been given from God to go. Here is an opportunity presented to you. I’m giving you the opportunity to be pulled in two different directions. Which direction are you going to hold on to? I’m with you.
But the thing is, this is where those two words. I don’t want to conflate those two words. And part of the reason is, too, is because I promise you that there’s somebody listening to this right now that is going to go.
Don’t dismiss the things that I’ve been able to learn from the amazing opportunities. You call them trials. You call them whatever you want that I’ve been given from heavenly Father or from Jesus to go, I can learn to overcome these things. I can be like Jacob. I can wrestle. I can have my hip broken by him. Are you going to tell me having your hip or your leg dislocated, it wouldn’t be a trial.
Okay, well, then do you see what I’m saying? This is why temptation. The word temptation and the word trial.
I’m just unwilling to conflate those two in this scenario.
And by the way, I’m totally absorbing the point you’re making, and I don’t disagree big picture with the idea that in a lot of cases, the temptation is to go, do we want to follow our way of doing this, or do we want to turn our will over to God’s? And I’m with you on this.
I’m not willing to speak for everybody when I say that this defines what a trial is. Right? And therefore, we can kind of put a blanket around all trials. And no, no, Jesus would never give us any of these. Or like what James is saying, if we’re using that translation, that God would never give us any trials. I’m like, coming down to this earth and Learning how to overcome the natural man is the greatest trial that we have been blessed to be given.
And Jason, dude, at the end of the day, maybe it’s semantics, too, by the way. You know what I mean? It’s like, maybe at the end of the day, I’m getting overly hung up on the words and maybe missing the bigger picture, which I’m completely willing to concede, by the way. No, I’m not even trying to bum out the discussion.
[00:29:13] Jason: I don’t think you’re bumming out the discussion. I think this is a discussion Worth having.
[00:29:20] Nate: What’s the biggest trial that you feel like you’ve been given? And maybe it doesn’t have to be personal.
Again, I don’t want to put you on the spot.
Give me a big picture. Like, hey, here is not a, hey, here’s a hard decision to make, but something that has been hard for you. We’ve talked about some of them, but the FBI thing, figuring out stuff when you’ve had bosses that won’t fix your. You know what I mean? Your resume records or what’s a trial?
Give me an example, too. So that, again, I’m not the only one here trying to explain this through an ignorant teenager who’s trying to figure out where he stands in the universe.
[00:30:06] Jason: Well, that’s the thing.
The case that we bring up with Jacob wrestling with God, to me, is what makes this the hardest to understand in James.
Because for me, like I say in this podcast, we’ve been saying for a long time now that I think our greatest trials come from God, not Satan. When God asks us to do something that we’re uncomfortable with, when God asks us to do things, to give us a commandment, to give us the law, to always remember him, to not be distracted, to try to change who we are, to become like him, come follow me is maybe one of the hardest things he’s ever asked anyone to.
So for me, I’ve always viewed the source of our trials as God testing. And.
And Jacob to me is the perfect example of this, because God is the one telling Jacob to let go.
God is the one dislocating his thigh to push the issue and to try to make it happen. God is his adversary in that moment and even take it to Christ, who’s in his worst moment suffering on the cross. And what does he say? Why have you forsaken me?
Is God not trying him there? And so for me, when I run into this with James, it’s like a train wreck. It’s like something just pulled the carpet out from under me. And I’m trying to understand this and I’m trying to look at this and trying to say, well, yes, God might make the invitation, but is it our weakness that makes it hard for us to follow?
[00:31:59] Nate: I agree with you on this by the way, though. But the thing is, I’m just saying, that’s still a trial, though.
When God tells Nephi to go chop off Laban’s head, coming from God, thou shalt not kill.
I’m just saying he had to have been confronted with that directly. Right? This is another perfect example, though.
I mean, honestly, like dude, Abraham sacrificing his son, that’s kind of at the top of the list, right?
I’m just saying the idea that we’re going to not say that God put those trials there, that doesn’t resonate with me whatsoever.
[00:32:45] Jason: Well, let me try. Maybe we read the next verse and see if James provides us with a little.
[00:32:50] Nate: Help us out, James, because we are.
[00:32:54] Jason: In a little bit of dissonance on this.
But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. And see, that’s where James is coming from.
The conflict doesn’t come in obeying God. For James, the conflict doesn’t come when God makes an invitation or when God throws down the challenge. The conflict comes when our lust or desire or passion wants to pull away and do something different for.
[00:33:32] Nate: I mean, whatever. I’ve said, what I need to still just. This is just so wrong to me.
[00:33:40] Jason: It makes sense in the case of Esau.
[00:33:42] Nate: It makes sense in the case of the word temptation.
[00:33:45] Jason: And it makes sense in the word temptation. It makes sense in the case of case.
[00:33:50] Nate: In the sense in the case of a lot of things, if we’re using the word temptation and not trial. And again, I don’t think this is just semantics. I’m actually going to answer my own question. I don’t think it’s just semantics. In the case of those two words, yes, but the opportunity to decide is a trial.
The opportunity to get to decide what you’re going to do, that’s a trial in and of itself. Now, I agree. If, James, if we’re using the word temptation, that God isn’t going to be the one to tempt you to do the wrong thing. Totally agree with this.
To suggest that God isn’t giving us opportunities to get to choose between those two things, which is what I guess I would refer to as a trial that doesn’t resonate with me whatsoever.
Did I lose you, Jason?
[00:34:45] Jason: No. It’s kind of interesting, as we’re going back through this.
I’m trying to go through verse 13 as careful as I can.
[00:34:53] Nate: Okay.
[00:34:54] Jason: Let no man say when he is tempted. And then you have that same parazzo that you see earlier on.
And this gets interesting, Nate. So this is the word that we’re translating as trial. When I am tempted. There you have it again, Parazzo.
Trial of God. For God cannot be tempted. It’s not Parazzo anymore. It’s Apirastos, which is that cannot be tempted by evil, not liable to temptation, to sin. Now, all of a sudden, you have a switch from trial to temptation.
And it’s interesting how he makes that switch.
For God cannot be tempted. Not tried, but tempted with evil, neither.
And then it goes back to Paradzo. Tries or tests or proves he any man. And so for James, he goes back and forth between temptation and trial synonymously.
And it’s interesting that he uses the one word temptation, but only when he’s referring to God and only in context of evil. God can’t be tempted.
You’re going to be tried. God can’t be tempted.
[00:36:17] Nate: And it’s weird, see, but that makes sense to me. What you just said resonates, though.
God can try you, but he’s not going to tempt you.
Do you see what I’m saying? At least I’m just saying, like, I can find complete harmony with that.
[00:36:38] Jason: Right. But the last verse here in 13, neither tryth he any man.
[00:36:46] Nate: Do you think that God gives us trials?
[00:36:50] Jason: Yeah, I do.
[00:36:51] Nate: Okay. I agree. I totally agree. Do you think God ever tries to tempt us to disobey what he says?
[00:36:59] Jason: I do not.
[00:36:59] Nate: I agree.
[00:37:02] Jason: The only exception would be Jacob wrestling the Lord and how we take that and how we understand that because he’s asking him to let go. But then again, letting go is not disobeying anything. It’s not like the commandment is to wrestle God. This wasn’t a blessing for above and beyond. Right?
[00:37:18] Nate: It’s not like he’s going to say, I think that that story is so deep and complex that there would have to be a lot of.
I think we would have to do a whole other conversation about that again, just to make sure we’re not even misrepresenting the details of that story.
Because I agree with the premise, though. I think you and I are completely in agreement on the same page. I absolutely believe that God, in his mercy and in his love for us, gives us trials. And I don’t think that he ever tempts us to disobey what he’s asked us to do.
I think a lot of those trials are giving us the opportunity to prove that we are willing to obey what he’s asked us to do.
Or in certain cases.
I have had some pretty heinous medical issues that we won’t get into the details on this because they’re gory and they’re wild. But needless to say, like, I learned a lot in those things and the people around me learned a lot in those things. And it was pivotal anchor moments for my spirituality, even at ten years old, when some of these things were going on. And am I willing to say that it was God, the one that injured me? No, probably not.
Did God allow that to happen? Obviously, he didn’t stop it.
Again, I don’t know logistically how that works. Functionally, how that works. All I can look back, though, is look back and say, though, is I can’t discount the things that I learned and what it helped me to become because of those things.
And I can’t help but consider those blessings. And then if you go, cool, well, do all blessings come from God? I mean, I don’t know. I don’t think I’m here to say for sure one way, yes or no, but I will suggest that all good things come at a certain point from God. Right.
So then I guess it’s hard for me to say again, and by the way, again, I would never be so, I don’t know, not even arrogant, but just bold as to suggest that I even understand everybody else’s trials.
It’s like, what an intensely vast, infinite, nuanced discussion that would be, right? If we could talk to everybody, even just the audience listening to this right now.
Think of the vast quote unquote trials, if we’re going to use that word, right.
It’s like, can we really speak for everybody and say, trust us, James just told us none of those came from God.
I can guarantee you the inbox of our email would be we wouldn’t be able to read through and respond to them all.
Do I think God tempts us to ever disobey a commandment? No, I don’t.
Did I derail your whole point here?
[00:40:38] Jason: No, absolutely not.
To me, I’m going to sum this up because I think we’ve hit it. I think we’re there.
We just had our wrestle with the Lord, and maybe not even with the Lord, with each other, with understanding, grappling with these words, grappling with what this means when in one hand, to find joy in the opportunity to be tested, to be proved. Talking about being tested and proved, God doesn’t do it. Wait, what? What are you talking about? James, what are we talking about? How do we try to understand this? And it doesn’t matter how much we go to the text, how much we go to the translation, how much we go back and forth with each other and try to wrestle. We’re only going to get so far. And how tempting is it for us to tap out, to leave the conversation, to rerecord the episode and to just skip it.
We’d never do that. But we hang in there. We hang in there. And here’s the thing.
These things are written to be understood spiritually. And it doesn’t matter how much you wrestle with the words. It doesn’t matter how much you understand or how much you know the Greek or the history or anything.
You’ve got to understand it spiritually. And I think both of us, looking at these verses and reading and understanding it through spiritual ears, spiritual hearts, can see that what James is getting at is telling us that God is not the one to blame for our weakness, for our lust for our temptations.
[00:42:18] Nate: Totally agree.
[00:42:20] Jason: When we are trying to do what’s right and say we have a problem with alcoholism and we’re coming home from work and we pass by that store, it’s not God calling to us from the bottle, trying to see if we’re going to fail. God does not set us up for failure. I think that’s what James is trying to say. We can’t blame him for our rebellions, for our lusts. God is trying to help us, is challenging us, is proving us, is testing us, but he’s not setting us up just to say, see, I told you you weren’t good enough. See, I knew you would fail if I just put the right circumstances in front of you. You were going to trip, and now I don’t have to deal with you anymore. I think that’s what James is really trying to say with this.
[00:43:11] Nate: I’m totally with you on that. Completely.
Do you want to know what the hard story in here is? Is job okay? I just wish I understood, and I know we’ve already talked about this, and I don’t want to linger on this for too much longer, but job’s an intense story, man, if you read it too literally.
But in that case, wouldn’t God, I guess, at least allow trials to be given to job to prove him?
You could still say that if you read it literally, the bad stuff is still coming from the adversary, right?
Satan is still the one giving the bad things happening.
[00:43:53] Jason: That’s it, right? Where’s the temptation for Job to give up and die?
[00:43:57] Nate: Let go.
[00:43:57] Jason: It’s not coming from God.
It’s coming from his so called friends.
[00:44:04] Nate: Again and again. This is, I know, splitting hairs at this point, but wouldn’t God allowing us trials be the same as him giving us trials? Or are we saying that? Are we just splitting hairs at this point?
[00:44:20] Jason: Well, no, I think you’re right. I mean, the very fact that he sent us here to this earth was that not sending us to a trial.
[00:44:28] Nate: To an entire lifetime of them. Yes.
[00:44:30] Jason: Let’s go back to that one verse that stood out to me last week in Hebrews.
What was it?
[00:44:38] Nate: I’m ready.
[00:44:40] Jason: I don’t want to misquote this.
[00:44:42] Nate: We’re going to the text.
[00:44:44] Jason: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
[00:44:48] Nate: Yeah, that’s right.
[00:44:49] Jason: It is a fearful thing.
[00:44:50] Nate: That sounds like a trial to.
[00:44:52] Jason: Absolutely.
When God talks to Moses to go stand up to Pharaoh, that’s a trial. That’s a trial.
When Joseph has to save his brothers, that threw him in the man, that’s.
[00:45:10] Nate: That’s.
[00:45:11] Jason: It’s a fearful thing to fall in the hands of a living God.
[00:45:14] Nate: Let’s keep going on. Good discussion.
[00:45:16] Jason: It’s a good discussion. And maybe the saving grace of this discussion is to come back, and I’m glad we did this in this order to James, chapter one, verse five.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.
[00:45:27] Nate: Don’t ask us.
[00:45:30] Jason: You can wrestle with the text, you can wrestle with whatever.
But if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God to giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.
It doesn’t chastise, doesn’t correct, and it shall be given him. And I say correct. Maybe correct is the wrong word here. Scold. Doesn’t belittle, doesn’t make you feel bad for asking a question, make you feel stupid.
He’s going to give to all men liberally, and it shall be given him. And then it’s important to conclude verse six. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, which is hard.
[00:46:07] Nate: That’s a tough caveat.
[00:46:10] Jason: We just got through a whole discussion of faith with Hebrews, and faith is the action.
You have to be prepared to do what the Lord is asking you to do or to follow through with what the Lord is telling you and what that information means.
[00:46:30] Nate: I agree, and I still think it’s hard.
The nothing wavering thing.
Luckily, I also just believe that God has so much more mercy and grace because I don’t know if I know a single person in this world that can just go throughout life with total faith, nothing wavering. Because by the way, what is faith at that point? You know what I mean? It’s like, if there’s no moments of having that faith pushed back against, I don’t know how it’s ever made stronger, I guess. Right? And so again, I get that the nothing wavering is kind of, it’s a bummer because I think it’s sometimes used as kind of like an out. Like if, like, hey, go pray about this, right? Go pray about this thing. And it’s like, well, I didn’t really get an answer. And we almost try to want to be like, well, there must have been something wavering in there. It’s just like I have a hard time with because I’m like, for me, I’m just like wavering.
That’s part of this whole experience. Part of this whole experience is progressing, knowing that there is going to be moments of highs and moments of lows, and I’m going to try everything I can to keep pushing through it.
[00:47:44] Jason: But it’s so hard.
[00:47:46] Nate: The nothing wavering thing. I just personally think that for me at least, God has been a lot more merciful when I’m praying about things to not go like, oh, no. You still have a little doubt in there. I’m not giving it to you until you can come and just be like, I know, no matter what, everything is everything.
That’s not how it works for me.
[00:48:07] Jason: The scripture that helps me with this is, help thou my unbelief.
[00:48:12] Nate: Yeah.
[00:48:15] Jason: I guess that’s the question, right? When you talk about wavering, what does it mean to waver?
And there’s a difference to a flag attached to a pole that waves in the wind. But at the end of the day, that flag doesn’t move, and it might be waving like crazy or wavering, right? But it hasn’t changed its position. It hasn’t changed its mind. And maybe that helps me understand that a little bit more, because there are times when the Lord speaks to me with such clarity. I know absolutely what I need to do.
But sometimes it’s even an hour later or a day later or a week later, I’m not so sure anymore. And I have to think back on that moment and try really hard not to waver. And my mind goes soft. And I think about it. My knees go weak. Is this really what I need to.
Like you say, it’s impossible to imagine that kind of faith. I don’t know.
[00:49:10] Nate: It’s just not faith at that point. So I think that I’m with you, and that’s, I think, a really great way of describing how that works together is sometimes the wavering, I think most of the time, like you said, will come after almost the answers are given or things like that. And that’s a scary prospect, but that’s a real thing, too. So I’m with you.
[00:49:37] Jason: And for all of you that waver out there, like us, I’m going to give you just a little bit of comfort on this.
Christ didn’t waver right? Yet. Did he not ask on multiple occasions for the cup to be removed from him?
If there’s any other way to do this. A man who went dedicated and knowing from before the foundation of the world was laid that this is what he was going to be born to do, and talked to all of his prophets in the Old Testament and set everyone up to understand what he was coming to this world to do. Then the moment came, and he did not waver. He followed through.
But at the same time, did he not ask for that cup to be removed? It’s natural. When we talk about wavering, I think you’re going to naturally come to a moment. That’s why, Nate, in the sacrament, it’s always remember him, because he knows that we’re going to waver, and we need that anchor to help keep us strong so that the wavering does not tear us loose from what keeps us there. The wavering is 100% part of the process.
It’s that we don’t waver to the point that we.
[00:50:52] Nate: Go off and do our own thing.
[00:50:53] Jason: That’s it.
[00:50:54] Nate: Beautifully said. Thanks. I’m glad we brought that up, because that was a very clarifying explanation.
[00:51:04] Jason: Maybe that’s some of the magic of James is putting things in such a weird way that makes you scratch your head and say, wait, you got to.
[00:51:12] Nate: Kind of work through it.
[00:51:13] Jason: You have to look at a little bit closer to try to understand what he’s saying, and then you connect, and then you feel what he’s saying. And maybe he didn’t have the best way of saying things, but when you get there, you get there.
[00:51:26] Nate: Yeah. Old Santiago.
[00:51:28] Jason: Good old Tiago.
He says a lot of really cool things, though, when he talks about.
Remember, he’s talking to scattered Israel.
Verse 19. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay Apart all the filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. Now think of who he’s talking to again. And he talks about the engrafted word. That’s a beautiful phrasing, and to me, it reminds me of Jacob. Five? You bet. Yeah. The allegory of the olive tree. And he’s taking these branches, and you’re grafting them in, and that’s what he knows is going on, is the word is going out there, and Israel is being grafted back into its original house. Israel is being restored. This word is going to come. If you’re going to accept it, you need to shake off the filthiness. You need to wake up. You need to control your tongue. You need to be more wise and quick to listen and slow to speak, slow to be angry, and just write people off, because you have the missionaries come, and you just look at it and pass judgment real quick. You’re going to miss that opportunity. You need to be looking. And he’s pleading with Israel to try to be gathered once more. So it’s a powerful message.
Speaking of, there’s something here that’s fascinating to me. Verse 22, when we talk about James and how he puts things, but be ye doers of the word and not hearers, only deceiving your own selves. For if any of you be hearers of the word and not a doer, he is likened to a man beholding his natural face on a glass. And when we’re talking about hearers of the word, I think when I’m reading this to hear, to just listen, but it doesn’t really sink in, and you need to take it to the next level and let it sink in and act. That’s how I think when I read this. Right. But again, going back on the language on this, Greek is similar to Hebrew in that they have different verb forms. And in the Hebrew, you have a PL, and the PL is an intensifier. And so if you say that word with the pl, so, for example, to kill, but you use it in the PL form, it’s to slaughter, to slay. Right? To kill with prejudice.
[00:54:05] Nate: Now, Shadai, baby.
[00:54:06] Jason: That’s El Shaddai. Yes.
[00:54:11] Nate: I’m waiting so long to get El Shaddai back in Here.
[00:54:15] Jason: Thank you for bringing El Shaddai back. In Greek, it’s the same thing here with the word here, the word that they use is the verb form for intensifies. And how do you intensify here?
So he’s not saying just to listen to the word in passing. He actually says to hear intensely. In other words, to pay close attention, to understand.
That’s what the here form and intensified means. Don’t just understand the word. He’s not talking about the teenagers in class that might not be listening too much or glancing down at their phones, or maybe it’s coming one ear out the other, and you don’t know how much they’re grabbing. He’s talking about maybe even the scholar who’s sitting there paying close attention and trying to understand the semantics and everything and how it works and how it fits together. And he says, even that is not enough.
You have to at some point, do it.
And if you hear and understand the entirety of the Gospel, and, Nate, you and I sit here and we talk, and we break down the atonement of Jesus Christ and how it works, and we feel like we have an understanding, and we can sit here and explain it and teach and embrace it in our lives, but it will never make a difference for us if our actions don’t change because of it.
[00:55:43] Nate: Amen, brother.
[00:55:45] Jason: And he finishes this chapter off so beautifully in verse 27. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father. Is this to visit the Fatherless and the widows in their affliction and to keep Himself unspotted from the world.
How are we loving our neighbors? How are we loving God? How are we doing the things?
And you can be as smart as an intellectual. There’s nothing wrong with that, by the way.
But you have to take that to the next level.
It’s not just saying don’t just pay attention in school or in church or in whatever it’s saying, even understanding it is not enough.
[00:56:29] Nate: We appreciate everybody listening.
To get a hold of us, you can email us at email@example.com we do appreciate the questions and comments.
We do read everything and we try our best to respond in a timely manner. But I think we’re pretty good about responding to everything eventually.
We really appreciate you listening.
It means a lot to us. But Jason and I also just love doing this. And so even though it’s a day still, we care. We do this because we care.
Yeah, I think that that’s it for us for this week. We’ll be back next week. I’m excited to we only have a few weeks left before we’re in the Book of Mormon.
[00:57:13] Jason: Yeah, we do. And we got Inevitableart art coming up.
[00:57:17] Nate: Yeah, I’m going to play the bump for that. Actually, after this week. We played it at the beginning of the episode. I’m going to play it after this. So stay tuned for some new podcasts we have coming out next month. Not next month, next year, next year. But I guess that’s pretty close to next month. So thank you all for listening. Until next week.
[00:57:36] Jason: See ya.
Hi, I’m Emily Christensen McPhee. And I’m J. Kirk Richards. We have a new podcast debuting January 2024 called Inevitable Art.
In the Inevitable art podcast, we discuss how art helps us better understand ourselves and the world around us.
Join us for inevitable Art, debuting January 2.