James 1:13-17 - Trial: Test or Temptation?


We study the different uses of the Greek word, πειρα, within today's passage of James.

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Class Date:
November 7, 2010 //
59 min (13.6 MB) //

Scripture References


James 1:13-17 - Trial: Test or Temptation?
James 1:13-17 - Trial: Test or Temptation?

Additional Notes

Meanings of πειρα (Greek) depending on context:

  • trial - difficult challenge (James 1:2)
  • test - proving a thesis (steadfastness) (James 1:3)
  • temptation - solicitation to evil (James 1:13)
  • attempt - "give it a go"

God ordains and brings the trial and the test.

God does not cause the temptation.


So, when you face the trial that God brings....... saying, "abba, Father"...... leaning on faith. His promise is the crown of life, right? but the earthly "outcome" is not the measure of whether you were proven steadfast, right? it is the peace and joy of experiencing the kingdom that proves the steadfastness.

One of the examples given in class was "of not falling into the fleshly desire to cheat on a test", yet the earthly outcome of taking the "high road" could still be "failing the academic test" that wasn't able to be studied for because of circumstances.... potentially needing to take the class over, etc. yet..... with the promise of the "crown of life"? which I understand at some level, that the knowledge of doing the "right thing" despite the consequences....... but if I'm frustrated with the need to repeat the class or whatever..... have I fallen into the "low road", the road of temptation?

So, if I grieve the earthly outcome of the trial ..... if I am sad...... if my heart is broken..... have I fallen into temptation and death. I again, pray "abba, father", lean on him and continue through the trial?..... hmm, maybe, I'm just being blind to the "real" earthly outcome...... or, maybe this is the true test? ...... trusting him and God's spirit to be able to give God Glory with a broken heart?

sorry, I'm rambling...... it seems to be how I process. It helps me to "write it out". And today I needed to process. I don't even know if anyone will ever get back to this comment, since it's kind of buried under an study from a couple of weeks ago. But God knows, and thankfully he is merciful..... he will answer me. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting,.......

Today my heart hurts..... can a heart "hurt" and also experience the "crown of life"? or is the measure of my pursuit of not falling into temptation, mean my heart won't hurt/be broken?


Perhaps the reason that others have not replied is that your question is very relevant and hard to answer. In fact, human reason cannot do so.

The only answer I could suggest is that given by Paul in his second letter to Timothy, written from death row in prison.

If you listen carefully as you read it, especially his closing in verses 6-22 of Chapter 4, you can virtually hear his broken heart crying out. And yet he says, "there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness" because of his steadfastness in not giving up on God.

Ken McElreath

There are many places in the Bible that show us the beauty that can come from pain (Joseph being betrayed and sold into slavery, Lazarus' death, Mary's pregnancy during betrothal, Jesus' gruesome death on a cross). Perhaps it's more about what you do with the pain and hurt that will surely come.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer my heart hurt and my head swam with questions. By the grace of God and His Spirit, I turned to Him with that hurt and those questions rather than wallowing in self-pity or scores of other temptations (that is not to say that I didn't have my moments though).

The crown of life is one of joy, but I don't think it's always pleasant in the warm, fuzzy, happiness sense. I can tell you that there were many moments of joy and thankfulness throughout my journey with cancer and looking back I truly wouldn't change a thing because of what God did in my life through it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, although you feel broken and your heart hurts, in my opinion I don't think that necessarily equals falling into temptation. Indeed, steadfastness wouldn't be such without the trial and all the challenges that go with it.

One other thought - I do think a heart can hurt while experiencing the "crown of life". The reason I think so is because during my cancer diagnosis and treatment, many people said things to me such as, "You are so strong." or "You seem to be doing so well!" I certainly didn't feel strong or think I was handling it all that well in my heart, but God was working His "crown of life" through me. I think it's too easy (at least for me) to equate peace and joy with inward feelings alone and not something God can do in us. Although those feelings can certainly be felt many times, in my experience, sometimes peace and joy are what God does in us and through us when we are surrendered to Him in our pain and suffereing.
I'm so sorry for your suffering and hope that Trekkers and the comments on this site are of encouragement to you.

Thank you for your replies. I am encouraged by others walking the path and appreciate what you have shared. I pray that my faith can be proven genuine through this loss/grief. I know many others have suffered much more than I have and yet give God glory. I guess I'm still struggling with being kinda mad at God..... whew..... that's hard to admit, but I am. I am grateful that he gave me the chance to experience the joy of having this child in my life for two years, but angry that was all the time he gave me. Praying hard that God will give me the strength to "count it ALL joy". I am grateful for this study!