James 1:2-4 | Part 2
James Part 2
Our church is so diverse. Look around you and see the beautiful color, the differences in dress and demographics, the opinions of art and cinema, and variations of family. It’s a beautiful thing. One thing we all share, whether Christian or non-Christian or background or ethnicity. We all suffer
James 1:2-4 Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
Great joy? From trials? What on earth does this mean?
TESTING -> ENDURANCE -> MATURITY -> LACKING NOTHING
Romans 5:3b-5 affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
AFFLICTION -> ENDURANCE -> CHARACTER -> HOPE
Let’s put these two passages together, as scripture always backs up scripture:
There is a spectrum with Anxiety on one side and faith in Christ on the other. Where are you on this spectrum?
Anxiety <dangerous—----------changes—--------trusting> Faith in Christ
1.) If on the dangerous end, it tends to dominate you. It tends to control you, and this is a scary place to be. Most of us have been there at some time in our lives
2.) Circumstances dictate your response to situations if you are more in the middle. If you are doing well, you trust Christ, if other problems/hardships are occurring, you lean into your anxiety
3.) If you trust Christ more than not, it’s because of His presence and His care for you through scripture, prayer, and real community. You KNOW He is the answer regardless of circumstance.
I going to give you several reasons why God allows us to suffer today. Why He literally calls us into this place of pain and struggle. If we can understand better WHY we are there, by God’s grace, we can accept the situation more readily and lean into Christ’s faithfulness in everything.
I want to give you examples of people in scripture who have been through suffering as we all have, and for you to receive comfort knowing that trusting in Christ in ALL situations can be done!
1.) Trials are allowed by God to humble us. Either we are humbled by God, who is loving and merciful, or by the world, which is cruel and evil.
Matthew 21:44 Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will shatter him.”
2.) God allows us trials and tribulations so we can understand the ZERO value of worldly things
In moments of loss, of great pain, of insecurities, nothing we have gratifies what we need except Jesus Christ
To the non-believer, this is crazy
To the Christ follower this is Gospel
3.) Trials allow the focus to be on eternity and not today
In trials, we struggle with hope for it ever being better
In Christ we are assured from His word that it will be
4.) Trials reveal what we really worship/what our flesh desires
If it is the person that we have lost, we are hopeless
If it is the thing that we worked so hard for, we are defeated
5.) Trials show us who we love and what we are willing to say no to for the glory of God. Kids, spouse, friends, work
Do you love your job?
How about your kids?
More than Jesus?
6.) Trials teach us to value the one who stays with us no matter if we have been the one who has suffered or we have been the one who has caused the suffering
Few join us in our suffering
Some give encouraging words, but few join us
Jesus does. He doesn’t leave
7.) Trials and suffering teach us obedience to Christ is the only way through the struggle
This is trial and error, right?
We cry, fuss, get angry, choose bitterness…and it doesn’t help. We blame, and we repeat the process. What is the result?
Obedience and subservience to Christ is the only way out of the suffering pit
1st Samuel 15:22 Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
God gets your suffering. He does
There is time to mourn. Time to be still. Time to process
AND then there is time to OBEY and PAY ATTENTION
In times of suffering, after mourning and being still, we must obey and pay attention to what God is teaching us. What God is calling us to do because of what we have suffered
8.) Trials and suffering give us empathy and care for others who have suffered
Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, look out. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
9.) Suffering makes us feel useless. God says it makes us strong only in Him
2nd Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”
This year was a hard one for me physically. I felt useless. I felt unable to protect and care for others
I was sequestered to my bedroom for over 6 weeks total.
I was on crutches
I was unable to be, in my mind, a protector and provider for my family