As we began our study last week in the book of
James we saw that there was a basic assumption that was made as James, a leader in the Christian Church, wrote to these Jewish
believers who were scattered around their known world. He knew they had believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah
and were in the process of learning to walk in the light of God’s grace rather than the letter of the law. As I teach
this book, that is my assumption also. That you are here having made a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, to follow him,
to cling to him, to love him all the days of your life.
The letter of James is a tool for us to learn how to walk in the real world with a real faith – a faith that
shows. We will find spiritual maturity and spiritual blessing as we look intently into His word. As we let the Word reflect
into our hearts and mind so that we can walk in the truth, finding freedom.
Read James 1:2-4 What we will see today
is that real faith endures trials.
After James greets the people in the letter, identifiying who he is and who they are, he jumps right into
their lives, giving them instruction about trials. Remember they were scattered from Jerusalem because of persecution. They
were experiencing trials in their lives and needed to know how to handle them. James makes a statement and gives them an explanation.
We will see this principle of instruction and explanation or example throughout the whole book.
What’s the statement?
"Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds..."
Look at some words so that we can gain understanding:
Trials: Difficult situations. Pressures that come into our life
from without that produce a reaction.
When do they happen? When ever…James says these trials are going to happen. We cannot escape them.
Various: shows us the kind of trials. They will be variegated - many
different kinds including sizes from losing keys to losing a child.
They can effect many areas of our lives – relationships, health, finances. They can include losses, illnesses,
conflicts, false accusations, financial struggles or blessings.
So when these various trials come, what is the instruction to us?
Consider them pure joy: Not the trial
itself, but the outcome.
This word means look down the road, not just at the here and now, at the point on the path where you are experiencing
pain. You are to look at the trial from a different perspective -
Evaluate the trial in light of what God is doing in us – in light of what is of value. Look intently down
the road with eyes of faith. This is a habit to develop. Every time a trial happens you must consider it all joy. This reaction
will not come naturally. We will still have pain, tears, or questions, but joy is possible because there is a bigger plan
for you – God’s plan to mature you. We choose joy, not so that the circumstances will change, but for the end
result in Our lives. What we may be feeling may be distressing, Our anger may flare up, we may want to run – but we
must act on what we know is true – putting on our glasses of faith and the letting the Word of truth reflect into our
lives and through our lives. Putting our faith in what we know is true.
What do we know? "BECAUSE YOU KNOW"… You know there is a purpose
in the trial – the testing of your faith.. That is why the trial comes - it’s a test – not that you have
to pass or fail but a test that proves your faith genuine – real.
What do you know that trials produce? PERSEVERANCE - ENDURANCE This literally means
to abide under. When a trial comes don’t you want to escape it somehow? Or help the one that is experiencing it to escape
it? Through the trial we learn not to succumb to it, not to surrender to the circumstances, but learn to live while we are
going through it.
Trials have the ability to make us press on to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus and what is that call? Philippians
3:12-14 I press on to take hold of that which Christ took hold of me for….what did he take hold of you for?
We see the answer in the next part of the explanation in James. What does perseverance lead to? A finished work.
- maturity and completeness. We grow up in our faith, becoming sound in our faith and it shows in our lives. Real faith
works!!! The purpose of that trial in your life is to bring about maturity in your life, so that you are lacking in nothing!
It is God’s desire for you to be whole – body soul and spirit…
II Thessalonians 5:23 is a cornerstone for our faith. This is what I believe God is about in our lives –
He desires to make us " whole in body, soul and spirit".
Ephesians 4:13 reveals to us God’s goal - that we would all become mature –"attaining to the whole
measure of the fullness of Christ". What does that mean? He wants to make us Christ-like. That is His goal for us!
Trials have the ability:
To teach us perseverance – don’t give up.
To bring us to maturity – grow up
To make us Christ-like – be shaped
To make us whole – be whole
So what’s our responsibility in the midst of the trials, so that God can accomplish His work in us and through
Look at the verbs which show us our responsibility in the midst of the trials?
Consider – Where are your eyes?
Know – Where is your mind?
Persevere – Will you press on?
Let – Will trials finish their work in you?
Will you look intently into the Word of God with me and let this truth reflect in and through your life? Remaining
in the trial that you experience in a way that honors God so that the trial can do its perfect work? Becoming not just hearers
of the word, but doers?