Joy in Trials

Janet Aucoin April 9, 2021

God sometimes ordains trials for his people. Janet Aucoin and Jocelyn Wallace explore how truth from James 1 can help us fight for joy for ourselves and those around us—even when we can’t understand His plan for the trials we face.

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Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.
Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that
the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.
Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.
Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of
my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to
inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as
women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either
Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of
Janet: Hello, this is Janet. And back with Jocelyn, once again.
Jocelyn: Last episode, we discussed the topic of unjust suffering. It was so thought-provoking,
and really helpful.

Janet: I know. Studying that topic just has helped me to reorient my thinking, and believe and see
that God really does have a good purpose, even in something so hard.
Jocelyn: But truth be told for most of us, it's going to be pretty rare that God asks us to walk
through that type of pain where we're suffering simply because someone else is sinning and we're
suffering because of it. So today on this episode, we're going to talk about something that 100%
of us deal with, maybe even on a daily basis. This episode, we're going to be talking about how
to handle the hard things that God allows in our lives. We're going to do that by taking a sweet
little overview of the first chapter of the book of James. Because that chapter really tells us how
to handle trials in general. So just to start with, I'm going to say a little bit about the setting and
the author. This book was written by James, who is the half-brother of Jesus. And he's writing
this letter to the Christians from Israel that have been scattered and forced to live all outside of
Israel because of this horrible persecution that was taking place on Christians that were living in
Jerusalem and the year is probably like 44 or 46 A.D., just 11 or 12 years after Jesus ascended
back up into heaven. We also know from history that within just a short period of time, like 20
years, James is going to be martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ. So, although the audience was
originally those who were being persecuted for their faith, similar to what we talked about last
episode. The truths we find in this book, particularly chapter one are applicable to every single
Christian living now, especially those that are really struggling with trials. And so as we look at
this, we're going to be looking at the whole chapter. It's going to be really familiar, because all of
us are familiar with the verses in this chapter, most likely. But I would bet that we might've read
them like in chunks, like, you know, James one: two through four or James one: five. So we're
going to be looking at an overview of the whole thing. We'll get a little bit deep into the first two
sections, but it's going to be a pretty high flying overview. But I think it's going to really help us
as we think through trials.
Janet: Excellent. Let me, let me just put in a quick disclaimer about this. Jocelyn's going to be
sharing this from the perspective of some pretty graphic images of childbirth. And I know, you're
already going James one, graphic images of childbirth. Okay. Hang on. So here's what I know.
There are some of you who've experienced child loss, maybe miscarriages, like I have, maybe
infertility, maybe the loving self -sacrifice of adoption, maybe trauma surrounding pregnancy
and childbirth. And this can be really painful. But I'm going to ask you to hang in there and I
want you to think about that for a minute. Why was that so painful? It's so painful because we
know that the birth of a child is an incredibly important thing that is intended to be beautiful if
we were not in a sin cursed world. So Jocelyn's going to be thinking about-- because the
implications are there in the passage-- how can we be thinking about not a physical baby, but a
spiritual baby. So those of you who have pain around a physical baby, you might know even
more than others, the importance, the beauty, the desire for that new life. So Jocelyn's going to be
sharing that concept with you to help us choose spiritual life. of the alternative, when it comes to
our trial. So don't tune us out. Let's rejoice that God shows us how we can bring a spiritual baby
to life, whether or not we've been able to do that physically.

Jocelyn: Excellent. So we're going to jump right in and we have this broken down into four
sections. Section one, how to think rightly about trials-- and the complete passage that goes
along with this is James 1: 2 through 11, but we're, I'm going to have Janet just read James 1: 2
through 5, and we're going to be reading this in the ESV.
Janet: " Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. For, you know, that
the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect. That
you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask
God who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given to him."
Jocelyn: So this book opens right off the bat with an exhortation that would probably connect
really deeply with that original audience. James is telling his readers right away: count it all joy
when you encounter trials of various kinds, because we know we have this experience
/knowledge, that those trials are going to test your faith and produce steadfastness and
endurance, and that is going to help us to be complete in Christ-- to be perfected and not lacking
anything. We can expect that what's going to come out of this trial, or if we could use a
metaphor, a baby that could be born out of this period of trial is your own spiritual maturity,
where you've shared in the suffering of Christ and become more like Him. And that is going to
make you so full of joy. Like the kind of joy that you experience after nine months of pregnancy,
really hard labor, hard, hard pushing for 12 hours. And then you finally, finally hold your perfect
little baby. So full of promise for the future. So I want to point out a couple of things. First of all,
in verse two, that are going to be important for the entire rest of the conversation today. First of
all, when James uses the word that has translated count or consider, he's saying lead it out ahead
of you. So conclude, start this thought with this consideration in mind. First of all, that it is joy. It
is a delight. It's a benefit that will bring gladness to your heart when, not if, so, don't be surprised
when this happens. When you meet trials of various kinds. So God promises us that we should be
expecting trials, not thrown off by them, which is contrary to maybe some of the ways that we
would tend to think. So instead of being shocked by trials, like on the lookout for them, then it's
not so weird and scary. So when you meet trials of many kinds --that word for trial is an
important word. And I'm going to take a little bit of time to flush it out for you, because this is
the main point. If you hear one thing from this entire session, it's this: understand what God is
trying to do in a trial. It's a purposeful putting to the proof by either an experiment of good or an
experience of evil and what God is saying is, He ordains a purposeful putting to the proof that is
meant for three distinct purposes. First of all, to encourage you. Second of all, to prove your
faith, and often that's proving it even to yourself. And third, to improve your confidence in God.
Janet: Isn't that fascinating? Because for most of us trials are the opposite.
Jocelyn: Yeah.
Janet: It makes me doubt God. It gives me less confidence and it's totally discouraging. And
that's the opposite of what God wanted.

Jocelyn: Exactly. And just like it says, consider, we have to lead out our thinking about difficult
periods of life with that understanding that that is going to guide our experience of this trial. So
those definitions are going to guide our conversation through this first chapter. And I'm going to
come back to them a couple of times, but we have to see their trials in their original purpose.
They are wonderful gifts from God. And it's meant to do something really specifically helpful for
Janet: Yeah. And specifically, when you said to encourage you. If people didn't hear our last
episode, it really sounds odd to say, Oh, it's a trial. How encouraging? But we discussed what
that word actually means. It's to engender courage in someone, and we can all probably attest to
in our own lives or in the lives of others we've seen go through trial. They come out if, they
handle them, so much more courageous. When I encourage my friend, I'm reminding her of hope
and truth to give her courage to trust God. So my trial is intended to engender courage.
Jocelyn: So with that in mind, we can see a trial, like, okay, oh, obviously we're in the middle of
something hard. And instead of, you know, running away from it, we can say like, yeah, bring it
baby. Like, I'm going to confidently anticipate the joy that is going to flow out of this experience
that God divinely organized for me. So, going back to the verse, it says, "you know that the
testing of your faith produces endurance" or steadfast.
Janet: I love those words.
Jocelyn: Steadfast.
Janet: Who doesn't want that?
Jocelyn: Yeah. Who doesn't want to be strong and capable of standing up under hard stuff. So it
means bearing up under something. Endurance, a constancy under suffering. So what's going to
happen is it's going to produce patience as a quality of mind and the ability to bear evils and
suffer with a tranquil mind.
Janet: I love that. I love that. Steadfast, mature, firm, unwavering. And I have to tell you it's was
like, my soul says, I want that. You know, last year I did a Bible study on James called Steadfast
it's by Courtney Doctor from the Gospel Coalition. She had us looking at James 1:8 to see the
opposite way we can respond. And I find that helpful to me. Like, am I being steadfast? I don't
know. What would it look like if I wasn't? Well, James 1:8 describes that double minded,
unstable in all your ways, wavering. And you look at that and go. What do I want? Do I want to
be firm? Stable? Or do I want to be wavering and weak and unstable? Well, I want to be firm,
but I don't always want the trial.
Jocelyn: Exactly.
Janet: And it's the trial that's going to help me become steadfast.

Jocelyn: Yeah. So. It says in James, "let endurance have its full effect that you may be perfect
and complete lacking nothing." So these trials are meant to help you develop spiritual maturity
so that you lack nothing that you need in life. God's desire for us is that we are complete. That
means entire. Sound.
Janet: I love seeing that heart.
Jocelyn: Yes. So verse five through seven continues. Now in the middle of these testings, these
trials, you're going to have a lot of questions about how to handle them without sinning. So when
you need wisdom, ask God, who's standing there waiting to give out wisdom. And this is the part
I love because it connects with what I, my heart longs for, without making you feel stupid for
needing to ask for it. I hate looking stupid. And it's so nice that what God is saying is when you
ask, ask confidently without doubting. Because doubting that God is going to give you the
wisdom you need for that divinely appointed test. It's going to make you especially unstable.
And double-minded like, you can't make up your mind. If you're going to embrace this testing or
try to like squish your way out of it.
Janet: And I'm thinking people are going well, it's already too late then because when I'm in a
trial that's exactly what I do.
Jocelyn: I already messed up.
Janet: You know, I don't know even how to ask without doubting. Like, what does that even look
like? Does that mean that there's this perfect trust in God?
Jocelyn: Good question.
Janet: So no, in that same Bible study, one of her statements was that "not doubting was to
believe that God is good and faithful and will give us all we need for life and godliness." So to
what you've been saying all along, consider that. Choose to believe what God says about
Himself, whether I feel it or not.
Jocelyn: Not that I never doubt about anything. It's that I'm not doubting that God will provide
what He has promised He will provide.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: So this section concludes with this little encouragement that. Rich or poor when we're
suffering through a trial, we're all in the same boat.
Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: We're being brought low by trials. We can know that these experiences give us a reason
to rejoice because we realized that genuine happiness and contentment depends on the true riches
of God's grace, not our earthly. Well, so we don't know what was happening, but we can make
some assumptions that these original readers, they had probably lost their businesses. They'd
probably lost their sources of income. They were scattered far from their family and friends and
in a culture that was meant to be generationally stable. But because they were dispersed through
the persecution, their lives were flipped upside down because of their decision to follow Jesus.
So instead of trusting in their wealth or their station in life, their earthly life was now about
subsistence. So their wealth that had previously, maybe trusted in it, had just dried up and blew
away. And now their life looks totally different than they thought it would or planned it to be.
And I don't know about you, Janet, but man, I can relate.
Janet: Oh, as you're saying it, pictures are going on in my head, I'm like I've been there.
Jocelyn: Yep. When God divinely the organizes our trials, they flip us upside down.
Janet: Yep.
Jocelyn: Life turns out, not at all the way we had thought or planned. And we're left sitting here
in this new normal, like no one asked for, no one wanted it, but instead of falling apart inside of
that, God says, dig deep into this experience. I planned it for you and it's accomplishing
something that's going to blow your mind and this new normal it's better than the life that you
had planned.
Janet: And that's what we have to believe about the character of God. And we've already studied
Jocelyn: Yeah.
Janet: That's excellent.
Jocelyn: So I'm going to have Janet now pick up in James 1 verses 12 through 16. The second
section is so how our experience with trials can go wrong.
Janet: " 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. Let no one say
when he's tempted, I'm being tempted by God for God cannot be tempted with evil and He
Himself tempts, no one, but each person is tempted when he's lured and enticed by his own
desire, then desire when it's conceived gives birth to sin and sin, when it's fully grown brings
forth death. Do not be deceived my beloved brothers."
Jocelyn: So this second section is especially helpful. As we dig into the specifics of how our
response to trials can go wrong. It's like in a scary movie. So in the first section, we're

encouraged to think about the joy that's going to come from an experiment that God has ordained
for us in order for us to be encouraged, to have our faith proven and to improve our confidence in
God. So using that pregnancy language that Janet talked about earlier. The baby born from that
difficult period of time, it's our own spiritual maturity. Sharing the suffering of Christ. And that is
going to produce a joy in us where we look back at that ordeal and say, it was worth it. The
second section starts out with a reminder that the person who stands up under trial and endures
the test without buckling under the pressure is going to be blessed because they will receive the
crown of life. So starting out similarly to the first section. What are we confident of? What are
we concluding? Blessed is the man. Happy and fortunate you're going to be because you
received God's favor. So blessed is the man who remains steadfast. And I was really blown away
by one of the definitions that I found when I was researching this, it says "to keep yourself under,
to persevere, be patient, remain steadfast, stay behind" but it's literally this picture of forcing
yourself to remain behind, where you are, without rushing ahead. So it's related to the word for
tarry which is kind of an old English word, but it means tarry behind after others have gone
ahead kind of like you're a slowpoke not rushing anything.
Janet: I can't even imagine. Like in trials you want to run.
Jocelyn: Exactly. So it's saying stay here. So like, picture this to help understand this example a
little bit better is you're exercising. Like let's say you're doing a lunge, and you know after a little
while lunge really starts burning.
Janet: Yep.
Jocelyn: And you know, the way to get the burn to stop is to bend your knee. Bend out of that
lunge. So the picture here is don't bend out. Don't buckle out. Stay, stay in the burn. So blessed is
the man who remains steadfast under trial. And remember, this is that same word that we talked
about in the first section. God is purposefully putting to the proof your faith so that you can be
encouraged. You can prove that your faith is genuine and your confidence in God can be
improved. So here's, what's gonna happen when you stand the test. That means you passed the
test. You are proven that your faith was the real deal. It was genuine. It was tested to make sure
it was real and it was found to be real. And that's like this example of in the olden days, when the
coin was made out of an actual precious metal, like. Yeah, back in the olden days. You would
bite into the coin and you would find that it was real gold. Like it stood the test. It got bit into. It
was found to be the real deal. So this believer has successfully and victoriously gone through this
trial indicating that he is genuine. His faith has endured the trial and he receives the crown of
life. When I was researching this with John MacArthur, he translated as "you received the crown
that is life." It's like this wreath that's placed on the victor's head at the Olympic games and it's
like the ultimate reward for the believer. Eternal life. You said you were a follower of Jesus. Your
faith was proven as you steadfastly stood under this trial and look eternal life is your benefit. It's
your reward. It's this promised future. It's the bliss and glory of the kingdom of God that awaits

His true disciples. And your faith is made more confident. God's promised that to those who love
Him or to those who delight in Him with a strong affection. In this context, it means those who
have loved the Lord by being faithful disciples and followers, it's this idea of veneration.
Respect. So I delighted in God and loved Him with fidelity.
Janet: Which to me means we're back to, I'm rehearsing the gospel because that's what causes me
to love Him.
Jocelyn: Right. Exactly.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: So in summary, When I remain in trials and I allow them to do their work in my life. I
stand that test of my faith. My faith has proven, genuine, which is so rewarding and helpful. I
know. I know I belong to God. My faith has been placed in Him so truly that I don't buckle out of
situations God ordains for me. At least that's my goal. My goal is stay in it. I delight in God. I
love Him with fidelity. All the time, even when it's hard, which we know is not some perfection
it's growth.
Janet: Right.
Jocelyn: Toward that goal.
Janet: And it increases your confidence as you grow toward that goal.
Jocelyn: Exactly. So verse 13, this is where the paragraph takes a scary turn. It says, now when
you're tempted to sin within a trial, don't say God did this to me. No. When we are tempted to sin
inside of a trial it's because in some way I was lured away from faithfulness to God, by being
convinced that getting what I wanted instead of what God wanted in that trial would actually be
what makes me happy. So I'm a word junkie and this, and the next little part. Thrills me, but it
may not thrill everyone. So I will not go into too much detail, but the word for trial and
temptation, it's actually the same exact word. It's the same root. One of them is a noun and one of
them is a verb. So this is where the interesting twist happens. That same word used for trial as a
noun becomes the verb tempt. So God designed this amazing experiment for me, that's going to
prove my faith, encourage me and improve my confidence in God. I'm going to have so much
joy at the end of it. Instead, I take that experience and allow it to become an opportunity for me
to tempt myself to sin.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: God designed it to produce joy in me. I redesign it to give me a better joy than what
God had in mind and it produces death in me. That's so sobering.

Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: We're going to see that James suggests some pretty vivid language that is really going to
help drive this home.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: So let's look at how that happens. Each person is tempted when they're lured and
enticed. And that's the words for it. When you bait and set a trap or when like you're fishing and
you put a worm on a hook, like you dangle it in front of the fish and try and be like, Hey, doesn't
this look delicious? So what baits him, what lures him away? His own desire. He longs for
something that is forbidden and you start coveting after this, this desire that is wrong. You lust
after it, you're a passionate for it. Like it's an out of order passion, an irregular desire or appetite.
And in this case, we have to think what are the desires that I might have in a trial other than
spiritual maturity, other than completeness, other than sharing in the suffering of Christ, which
sounds lovely, but it's hard. And the joy that comes from God in the middle of that. So what are
some of those other desires that might lure us away?
Janet: Well, this is incredibly sadly way too easy for me to answer. And yet I do believe at the
level of my soul, I want what God is offering. I just don't agree with God that that's where I'm
going to get it. Trial cannot lead to my joy. So I want my joy. So I disagree with You, God, about
where that's going to come. I sometimes just want people to be happy with me more than I want
to address a problem. So God gives me the trial to give me an opportunity. And if there's a
problem between me and you, Jocelyn, I may want you happy with me more than I want to help
you grow. So I ignore a problem and I buckle under. I choose acceptance instead of loving
someone who might benefit from my asking tough questions. Or sometimes I just want to feel
good. So I avoid the hard things I need to do because how can that lead to my joy? So I turn on
the TV, I get some ice cream and I make matters worse. Other things I can want a pain-free life. I
want a spouse. I just want some respect, some money, some possessions, some power. So many
alternatives in trials instead of wanting the steadfastness that my soul really longs for.
Jocelyn: So true. So those inordinate desires, any number of those. For something other than the
joy that God wants to give me with my spiritual maturity gives birth to sin and that huge out of
order desire and coveting of what is forbidden. It joins with the trial and it conceives. It
conceives the baby that is sin. So it's like the picture of an actual baby's conception, like an egg.
And that is my desire and the sperm that is the trial, like they join and what comes out of that is
sin. And that just means doing anything other than what is right and good according to God's
standards. And what happens out of that is that sin brings forth death. And that's like a picture of
real childbirth, like after 40 weeks of anticipating this precious baby, you long for this baby, you
put your hope in this baby. You eat the right foods. You gave up coffee. Can you believe it?
Janet: And caffeine.

Jocelyn: You exercise. You go to childbirth classes. You invested in this childbirth and this could
be like the picture of a stillborn baby after all of that investment. You really thought it was going
to bring you joy and it brought you death. I know that's super gross. That's really nasty to think
about. Instead of seeing this trial as an opportunity, be tested and proven. And at the end of that
long trial that you don't bend out of, the experience. It has a baby that, that baby was your own
spiritual maturity and completeness in Christ. And you get to go through the rest of life with the
joy of that experience, which is as promising and exciting as a new member of your family. But
instead the trial God organized for you to receive spiritual maturity and completeness in Christ,
which produces this massive joy at the end, it connected with some strong desire for something
instead of that spiritual maturity that God planned for you, and what is conceived as sin.
Behavior that is opposed to what God says is right and good. And when that sin is fully grown
and developed, you give birth at the end to a stillborn baby. You had all of this hope that you
would get this wonderful outcome by investing in your desire coming true. And instead you
deliver a full term, dead baby of death. God wanted you to have the crown of life and instead
your desires brought forth death.
Janet: That's so powerful and it reminds me, my husband does a series of teaching called The
Heart of Change. And we can link to that in the show notes. It's a free video series online, but he
talks about the idols in our heart are so deceiving. They promise one thing and you think I want
to belong. I want to. So I have sex outside of marriage, so I can really be close with this person.
It promises me one thing and it gives me the exact opposite. You know, the deceitfulness of our
lust is exactly what you're talking about here.
Jocelyn: Exactly. So, every single trial is the opportunity that can also be turned into a temptation
to sin. God doesn't do that to you. He provided that trial as an opportunity for your faith to be
proven. But when that trial connects with my lust for something other than God, I turned that
trial into a temptation to sin. And that sin that is conceived in that trial gives birth to a stillborn
baby. That will not give me what I was wanting. So, in the third section, we're going to talk about
the importance of receiving the word that was implanted in you because of trials. So, Janet is
going to read James 1:16 through 21.
Janet: " Do not be deceived my beloved brothers, every good gift and every perfect gift is from
above coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to
change. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of
first fruits of His creatures. Know this my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to hear,
slow to speak, slow to anger for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness, the
implanted word which is able to save your souls."
Jocelyn: This section encourages us, remember it in this context, in the middle of trials to not be
deceived into thinking that this situation is bad. It says that God designed this to be good for us.

He isn't trying to trick us. His good is always good. He doesn't change. He consistently and
permanently wants us to have good things from His hand. The only thing that changes is our
desires are so fickle. They're like fleeting, like shifting shadows. We're permanently confident
that if we get whatever we want, we're going to be happy, but what we want changes.
Janet: And I love the idea that we can trust. Cause I've had people say. I'm afraid to pray for what
God thinks is good. As if
Jocelyn: It might be bad.
Janet: Right. As if God's idea of good is less than mine. It's mine that's messed up.
Jocelyn: Yeah. Verse 18 says that the sovereign will of God is the source of our new life. Our
new life is not some whimsical wish. He regenerated us through the power of His Word. So that
we could be an evidence of this new creation that's to come. He wants us to get to taste that now.
He wants us to receive the Word that's planted in us that gives birth to this amazing abundant
life, where we can experience joy of being His and living His way. But verse 19, cautions us. So,
don't get angry when God shows you through these trials, something that you don't like and
needs to change. That was the point. It's kind of like the whole point of the experience. Our
maturity happens when we throw off the old ways of functioning and put on Jesus's
righteousness. So God says, be quick to hear the Bible. Be slow to speak our excuses about why
we're not living according to the Bible and then be slow to get angry if the Bible points out a
weakness that needs to be worked on.
Janet: Which was obviously you're not Jesus yet. So that's the point. If we're going to get more
like Him, you have to see where you're not. And I know we use that verse a lot to remind us of
something that is certainly true. Listen to other people. Yeah. And we're told in Philippians 2
"consider others more important than ourselves." Clearly we need to be quick to listen and slow
to speak. So that's true, but it's really fascinating that in this context, it's actually referring to our
response to God regarding trial.
Jocelyn: Exactly. So verse 20 says you get an angry in this trial and because of this trial is not
going to help you live according to God's standards of what is right and good. Remember God
designed these trials, the context of this passage, to produce joy connected to the deepening of
your faith and your obedience. So give it all up, be quick and willing to give up any wickedness
that is revealed through this trial and gladly accept and obey the word of God, which reveals the
righteous standards of God and do that meekly.
Janet: Yeah. Yeah, because the point of this is not, well, you better handle this trial or you
probably don't even know Jesus.
Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: It's not intended to make you doubt your salvation. I do believe that as believers growth in
Christ means I repent more quickly. I get back under.
Jocelyn: Yup. Yup. Okay. So trials organized by God to give birth to spiritual maturity that
produces amazing joy. It points out where you're going to want to sin or where you do sin. And
when that junk is revealed, don't get all mad about it. Let it go. Repent. Replace it with living out
the truth that you'll find in the wisdom of God that you see in His Word. And let that wisdom be
a seed planted in the perfect whim of that trial and let it bring forth a baby, this spiritual maturity,
that's going to give you a joy produced by your increased faith and obedience. So we sin when
we don't like that pregnancy scenario cause it's painful and it's embarrassing. And we tried to
exchange the baby of spiritual maturity and joy that is promised from God with some thing else
that we think is going to be better for us, whatever that is, escape from the trial, false comfort
from the trial, relief in the trial, instead of letting it do it its work. But the alternative plan gives
birth to death. So in our fourth section, we're going to be talking about acting on the implanted
Word, which leads to blessed liberty.
Janet: All right. Well, let me read here 22 to 27, "but be doers of the Word and not hearers, only
deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer. He's like a man who
looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For, he looks at himself and goes away. And at once
forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of Liberty and
perseveres being no hearer who forgets, but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If
anyone thinks he's a real, he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart.
This person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is
this to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
Jocelyn: So verse 22 says, once you've received the Word that has the power to regenerate
sinners. Now do it, do the righteousness you've learned from the Word. Don't just hear it and
deceive yourself into thinking that knowing it is what makes you righteous. Your entire
personality should become characterized by that new righteousness. That new thing that you've
learned now.
Janet: It makes me think about Garfield who used to watch exercise videos and think he was
Jocelyn: How perfect. What a great illustration! So that word deceive, it means. It's actually a
mathematical term referring to a miscalculation. Like you did not do that formula correctly. You
came to a wrong conclusion. Your proof was wrong. Like if we're going to talk about in
geometry terms, if you're a professing Christian and you're content with only hearing the Word
you've made a serious spiritual miscalculation. So if you listen to the Word only, but don't live it
out. You're like someone who like stares at himself in the mirror notices super bad reflections
staring back at him, and then just walks away, like forgetting what he looked like. If you're a
professing believer of Jesus, you've got to act promptly. When you hear the Word or you're going

to forget the changes and improvements that your reflection just pointed out that you need to
make. So when you look at the beautiful scriptures, the perfect standards of righteousness of
God, then live it out. You're set free from slavery that you've been in. And when you're freed
from the sin, that enslaves you, you're going to be blessed. So when you find a reflection that
shows something other than living God's way, use God's words to correct that problem. And do it
swiftly. So the chapter closes with this example of an application and remember the context of
this books, which will help this part to make more sense. He was writing to those believing Jews
had been scattered all over because of the persecution. So verse 26 is saying, so if you're really a
follower of Jesus, don't just talk about how you follow Him. Do it. You can't just talk about
anything you want. You're deceived. Your version of religion is a lie. And then in verse 27, it
says really truly following Jesus means you not only notice when people that are living in
persecution are in trouble. You meet their needs. So think about all the kids who might've been
orphaned or the wives who might've been widowed because of this horrible persecution, they can
never pay you back for the kindnesses that you do to them, which is good. Cause you don't want
to serve them to get some sort of a kickback. You want to sacrifice for them because that is the
choreography of heaven. Pouring out your life for others like Jesus, the leader of our faith did.
Jocelyn: So a summary of this whole big chapter, let's just summarize it. We're talking about one
opportunity that has the potential of two different results.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: Any way you look at it, you have to understand something is going to come out of a
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: Something is going to be born out of this experience. God designs trials to be this story
that brings forth so much promise and potential. He allows this perfect circumstance and unites
them with my heart and my love for Him to need to grow.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: And what's born out of that trial is my maturity in Christ. And that will bring you so
much joy.
Janet: It gives so much hope in the middle of our trial. It has a purpose.
Jocelyn: We're tempted to take that God ordained trial and unite it instead with our out of order
desires. And instead of desiring the joy that comes with that spiritual maturity, we flip the trial on
its head and turn it into a temptation.

Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: And the baby that's born out of that situation is sin, which means I purposefully strayed
from the righteous standards that God has set, and death. And we literally invest in the birth of a
stillborn baby that we're really, really positive would have given us joy, but only causes us grief
and pain. So what we're going to experience in trials is the raw, painful awareness of ways we
need to grow in both understanding and applying God's standards of what is right and good.
Better and better and more deeply. And that's a gift from God. So we should accept it with joy.
We need to learn righteousness in the middle of our trials and then practice what we learn or else
our explanation of our faith. It's worthless.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: So let's talk about some of the ways that we can apply this teaching. First of all, I have
to ask myself, what is my reaction when I think about trials, not in general trials, like my trial.
Do I roll my eyes?
Janet: Like your trials are different.
Jocelyn: I know. Do I? Is my first reaction to complain? Do I get annoyed? Do I run away from
them? If I've already decided that trials produce good.
Janet: Yep.
Jocelyn: Then that my faith being proven, being more confident in God, I can acknowledge like,
dude, this trial is hard.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: But behind the hard, I, I already decided that it was good and it produces good. I can
then willingly step into that hard with my eyes on the prize, the spiritual maturity and joy. That's
about to be born out of that really painful experience. If on the other hand, I've already decided
that trials are annoying and bad and being tested is an irritation, I'm going to do anything I can to
squirm out of being squeezed like that. I'm going to fight to escape. I'm going to find false
comfort. I'm going to try to control it. So the first application is like me. How do I personally
react? When I come to the conclusion? Oh dude, this something is happening that is hard.
Janet: However, you react is showing you whether or not you agree with God about the whole
purpose of trial that's coming out right there at the beginning.
Jocelyn: Exactly. And it's coming out, first of all, in my thinking, so what do I think about this?
And then what's this conversation that I'm having with myself in the middle of it. Am I thinking
this is hard, but good or hard and let's avoid?

Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: So secondly, how do I talk to others when we're talking about.
Janet: Now you're getting personal.
Jocelyn: I know it's not just what's inside of my head, so here's what I mean by this. Like, so if I
were to tell Janet like about this hard thing that I have to go through, is it almost like I'm talking
in this gossipy way about God? Like, did you hear what God is making go through right now?
Janet: No way, tell me everything.
Jocelyn: I just can't believe it.
Janet: You poor thing. Let's have Oreos.
Jocelyn: Like you can say, like, I'm just pushing through it. We'll make it. Or we can say, like,
this is rough, but I am searching in the middle of it. I am looking for the joy that God promised
me I will experience. I'm being real, but I'm not being irritated. Or like, pray for me. This is so
hard. Right now in this moment today, I am tempted to buckle out of it. I want to comfort myself
so bad. I want Oreos.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: I want chips. I want to shut down. I want to go in my bedroom and take a nap. I want to
whine to you, whatever, but please, this is what I want more pray for me to fight, to see how God
wants me to grow and then to practice building stronger spiritual muscles. What I want is out,
but I really want, I want what Jesus wants.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: That is a little different than asking others to pray in this like random nebulous way.
Like, and it also, you know, requires a bit of humility to be real with that, like that, like, you're
going to find out how much I depend on Oreos or chips.
Janet: I don't know that that's even bad.
Jocelyn: People are going to see that you actually have wicked thoughts.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: And what out sometimes. And we can't be like, Oh my word, what would happen if my
friends saw that I was real.

Janet: Yeah. As if. All that's going to do, they're real too.
Jocelyn: I know as if it's going to be so shocking that they're just like me.
Janet: They already kind of know probably.
Jocelyn: True, it's hard to hide. So I do want to encourage you to think about that application
point. Am I willing to be humble in the middle of when it's hard and it's not like you have to
dump your guts every time you see every person, like, you know, have some propriety, but you
do have spiritual friends that are able to walk alongside of you in trials and they can pray for you
specifically if they know specifics, so be willing to share specifically.
Janet: And that may be exactly part of the maturing God is doing is your humility.
Jocelyn: True.
Janet: Instead of me trying to say to you, I'm pretty amazing. Jesus is too, but me too.
Jocelyn: Both of us.
Janet: Yes. Instead as I grow in humility, even by telling you, the right people, who can actually
help. That is part of my growth. Cause I'm making much of Jesus not me.
Jocelyn: Exactly. So, thirdly, I want us to think about how do we interact with friends and loved
ones who are going through trials?
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: So here's a hard one. And I have to admit often this is my first statement if I don't think
carefully. First of all, I sometimes apologize on God's behalf that He's giving them this difficulty.
Janet: Oh yes. It is such a temptation because. I love you, Jocelyn, when I see you in a hard
thing, I don't think, Oh, I'm so happy for that.
Jocelyn: I can't wait to see the joy that's going to come out of this.
Janet: And I think it's good. That it saddens me to see your pain that's supposed to be, but then
my temptation is how do I get you out of it?
Jocelyn: Right.
Janet: How do I help? You know, what, if you do this. If you do this, I think God's word would
say, you could get out of it. You know? So when I'm not thinking the right way, instead of

helping you be steadfast, I can make it my goal to eliminate what God brought into your life to
help you.
Jocelyn: Yeah. Yeah. So when somebody else you love is going through trials, do you encourage
them to sin? Like, do you help them
Janet: to buckle?
Jocelyn: Yeah. To think of ways to buckle out of it or to find false comfort or, you know, try to
control it. Do I make it easy for my friends to complain. Like there's a big difference between
listening to someone when they're being real and encouraging them to vent. I'm not talking about
encouraging them to vent. I'm saying like, we want to make it easy for our friends to be real, but
do I allow that to go too far and become like a complaining session? So how can we give
courage to our friends in the middle of our own trials and in the middle of their own trials? So
there's just a lot of practical things you can do. Really, your creativity is the limit. How can you
take courage from God and hand it to someone who's struggling?
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: Janet has done this for me and I do this for my friend. Like we send texts to each other,
we call each other, we pray on the phone together. We even like pray by text together or email.
And inside of those conversations, you're going to find out where that person is struggling. And
then that becomes how you pray for them. So if you're saying like, I'm just so tempted to want to
be done, I wouldn't just pray generically, like, Oh, give her strength. I would say. God, please
help her to tap into the power that You use to raise Jesus from the dead to stay with this trial,
help her to embrace Your strength, help her to not buckle, help her not to give in.
Janet: Yes. Because she's seeing the end. Help her to taste the joy.
Jocelyn: And it
Janet: Help her taste the closeness with you. And I think that it means I really have to get the fact
that. I understand the purpose of this trial and your life in a general way to help you grow,
because then I want to help you grow. Instead of get you out of it. And then the sky's the limit on
how I do that.
Jocelyn: Which I think is one of the reasons why God gives us spiritual friends when I'm in the
trial. I forget that that is a good and godly goal and it's worth it. I think, no, I will never be able to
handle. Like my personal first thought is I will never be able to handle this and that handling it
without failing is not necessarily the goal that God is talking about. And I need Janet to remind
me of that.
Janet: That's what the gospel is for.

Jocelyn: I need a friend, that's going to say it's going to be worth it when God has done with what
He's doing.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: And we are going to find so much joy. I want you to look at that joy while you're
walking through this pain and just, I need people to remind me of that.
Janet: And then we get to lock arms and do it together. Community.
Jocelyn: Yeah. So we're going to talk a little bit about some resources and I just want to start by
saying in general, Janet and I are super passionate about women learning to read their own
Bibles. We have, together, been really focused on increasing biblical literacy with the women in
our church for quite a long time. We think it's super important to read the Bible for yourself and
learn how to study it. And so I'm just going to share a couple of my favorite resources that I use
just in my like morning devotions. I have a Bible that actually Janet introduced me to called the
keyword study Bible. And my version is English standard version, which is why we read in that
today. But I really love this Bible and we're going to include a link to this in the show notes,
because it includes keywords that are underlined and the Greek and Hebrew lexicon in the back
of the Bible that you can look up. You can see like all these definitions that I read for you today. I
just learned them by reading the lexicon definition in the back. Yeah. It makes studying the Bible
so fun. I also really love the Grace to You Bible study app, which I think is like the best five
bucks I ever spent.
Janet: I told Brent, my husband about this. And he's like, well, that sounds like a really good
thing. So we'll probably be doing it too.
Jocelyn: I will also include a link to this if possible in the show notes, but I spent like $5 on it
and it's just has links to like maps and charts and John McArthur's commentary verse by verse.
It's a very clickable, which I it's like very interconnected. And then I also love the website Bible for the same reason as I love my keyword study Bible, because it links you to the
original languages and you can see, you can click the word that says lexicon, and it shows you in
the original language, what that passage was trying to say. So those are some of my favorite
study tools that have really helped me to not just read the Bible and like check off my devotions,
but like, read the Bible and understand what it's saying. And this big understanding of James is
born out of stuff like that, along with excellent teaching from like my Adult Bible Fellowship
and my pastors at my church. So me participating with them for my spiritual maturity.
Janet: Absolutely. And so when I was thinking about this, I then think about people I've talked to
who are like that's, that is completely overwhelming to me. So what do we do to help you? And I
am in the process. I just got a couple of books. I talked with my husband, I'm looking through
them real quickly. So, by the time this comes out, they will be linked there as well. That are

going to be the big picture of the Bible. You read it and understand what are the big themes cause
it's one story. And if I understand the one big story of the Bible, then when I'm reading James, I
understand where does that fit? What is that about? And it just as a more of an introductory, I've
also picked up a couple of Bible studies looking for how can we find studies that not only tell
you what the word says, but they begin to give you habits of practicing, training wheels.
Jocelyn: Yeah.
Janet: Because I think that can be a little overwhelming, but a couple of other resources that we
will link just based on what you talked about today. The whole being real. What's the difference
between being real and whining and complaining.
Jocelyn: That's great.
Janet: Dark Clouds Deep Mercy excellent book on Biblical lament that if I'm going to stand
under my trial, I need to know how to talk to God about it in a real way, that is respectful, but is
raw. And we tend to either be respectful or raw. Yes, that's not really the example of Scripture. So
that, if I'm going to be believing in the good character of God, when everything around me,
screams pain. I've got to really understand who God is. And we talked about that in our two
episodes on God's love, but the Gospel Primer, we're going to go there again to say, remind
yourself of who He is. Valley of Vision, a book of Puritan prayers that get my mind oriented. So
if I'm going to wake up in the morning and I'm facing the same trial, because I'm standing under
it, it's not going away. How do I get in my head? Because my own thoughts. Okay. I just wake up
in the flesh. I don't wake up sanctified. I don't know about you, but I don't wake up going, thank
you for trial. I wake up going really?
Jocelyn: Yeah.
Janet: So what am I going to do? I can feel guilty that I'm that way, or I can repent. And honestly,
in the morning, other people's prayers help me. So scriptural prayers, memorizing, reading
prayers in the Bible, Valley of Vision. It is, I have to translate the thou's, and the seest, and the
thine's. But I love that book. I'm reading a new one now Piercing Heaven, which is Puritan
prayers that have been put in modern day language. So any of those things that can help orient
me, but again, learning how to read the Bible for myself so I can understand the heart of God. So
the, when the trials come I'm ready.
Jocelyn: And super helpful plug is the New Living Translation. Janet got me onto that translation
a while ago, and I really enjoyed it. I used the Breath Bible albums that are on Amazon music to
listen to it and just it's so vivid and everyday language, but very accurate to the intention.
Janet: There's a few times that the New Living Translation is interpreting for a lot of things. I
think it's solid. I love it. I read out of it a lot. There are times though, again, the more you get to

know your Bible, I'll read something and go, no, I think you interpreted that. And I think I would
interpret that differently. And then I looked somewhere else. So when you're studying the best
translation is two translations. Unless, you know, Hebrew and Greek.
Jocelyn: And I do not.
Janet: The best translation is two translations. That was what a pastor who taught the original
languages. That's how he answered that question. Because he was a Hebrew professor who really
knew Hebrew. And they were like, well, then what's the best translation. And he said, two.
Jocelyn: So. I'm going to close today with a prayer, for those who are listening with us today,
who are living in trials, because, you know, we can talk about this philosophically or
theoretically, but in the middle of it, it's hard. So I'm going to close our time together with that
prayer. And then Janet's going to take us out. Dear heavenly Father, we are so humbled and low
before You to know that You are sovereign and good. And that You can organize these difficult
parts of life, of trials, in a way that, You can promise that good will come out of them. And it
always does. So God, I pray for those that are listening today that are experiencing trials. God,
we ask that You help them to be strong in You. We ask that You help them to stand up under the
work that You're doing without buckling out with sin. And we ask, God, give them the joy that
You promise when they can observe their own spiritual maturity. Help us, God. Help us to
embrace opportunities to grow. Help us to be quick to notice when we're not obeying You and
quick to accept the word of God that You plant in us, that God help us to live out the truth. And I
pray God in these trials that You organize for us so perfectly that we would embrace the work
that You're doing and participate with You. God, give us Your strength. Help us to be steadfast
and to be complete lacking in nothing. In Jesus name. Amen.
Janet: Amen. Okay, next episode, we're switching gears now. We're going to be discussing the
role our physical body has in living out our design. So do you ever feel like you just go from
ditch to ditch in this area either I'm obsessing over my body and I'm exercising and restricting, or
I completely ignore it because you know what God cares about the heart. Come back as we talk
about how to view this area through the lens of scripture and the beauty of using our body to
image God.
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receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.

Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money
for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.