Summary: Trials, Perseverance, Faith
LIFE APP – The Application Tested
James 1:1-18 (p. 847) September 7, 2014
Max Lucado, in his book In the Eye of the Storm, tells the story of Chippie the Parakeet. He writes:
"Chippie the Parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, blown over.
The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said ‘hello’ when ‘sssopp!’ Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie—still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. ’Well,’ she replied, ’Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore—he just sits and stares.’
It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . that’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart."
The book of James is written by the half brother of Jesus to Jewish believers scattered around the world because of persecution. It’s one of the earliest New Testament books written and it deals with the life application of Christianity...what does it mean to live out our beliefs in the real world? It’s called, “The Little Big Book” and “The Proverbs of the New Testament.”
The protestant reformer Martin Luther didn’t like the book of James much..but we can understand Luther came from a Catholic background so wrapped up in a “works” theology that James didn’t seem to fit...His theme...”The Righteous shall live by faith.”
But James isn’t about faith verses works...James is truly a book that says there is a faith that works.
And truly isn’t that what all of us desire? A real world faith...one that genuinely applies to everyday life...not some snobbish, mystical belief system that has no real answers...We want a life changing faith that can be applied even when we’re “sucked in, washed up, and blown over.”
Each of us live in a fallen world where bad things happen...a place where even bad things happen to those who don’t necessarily deserve them. Some would reject God because of this truth...“If God were a loving God why doesn’t He stop it?”
James doesn’t try to give flippant answers to that very hard question...and neither will I...I’m not God...I believe He exists...I believe He wants to be in a relationship with me and you through His Son...Why does it rain on the evil and the good? God’s Word says, “So His people can shine like stars in the darkness!” (Phil. 2:15)
We cannot avoid real life...when the unexpected happens it happens and then, how do we respond?
1 Peter 4:12 asks this poignant question...“Dear friends, why are you surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you?”
James goes even further in his life application:
“Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trails of many kinds.”
He doesn’t say if you face...He says when you face trials... “In a broken world, filled with sin and bad stuff, with Satan at work scheming in fury because he knows his time is short, trials happen to everyone...you are not exempt.
I’d like to share with you 3 truths about trials:
I. TRIALS ARE INEVITABLE!
In the school of life...trials and difficulties are not an elective...they are part of the core curriculum!
Jesus said to his followers: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” I like the 2nd part of that promise a lot more than the first part
Christ follower...non-Christ follower. Neither change the fact that you live in this trial producing world.
But the Christ follower is promised “All things work together for the good for those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
And, that Jesus has overcome this world by preparing a way beyond it into a much better one.
II. TRIALS COME IN MANY KINDS
All different shapes and sizes...In every part of life. At work, at home, at church, at school, on the freeway.