Sermons

Summary: Trials and Tribulations should build our character not our list of complaints!

I AM SURE WE HAVE HEARD MANY PHRASES IN REGARDS TO PESSIMISM SUCH AS “SEEING THE GLASS HALF-EMPTY INSTEAD OF HALF-FULL,” OR “YOU CAN’T SEE THE FOREST FOR ALL THE TREES.” WHATEVER THE SAYING, UNGRATEFULNESS AND PESSIMISM DO NOTHING TO HELP OUR DISPOSTION OR RAISE OUR SPIRITS.

ESPECIALLY IN THIS TIME OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON THAT BEGINS TO FOCUS ON THANKSGIVING THAT ENVOKE EXPRESSIONS OF SHARING, GIVING, AND OFFERING WORDS OF GRATITUDE, AND BLESSINGS IT SEEMS AWFULLY HARD TO FIND ANYTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. BUT, SOME STILL DO.

NO MATTER HOW BLESSED, HOW THINGS GO, HOW SUCCESSFUL SOMETHING MAY BE, NOTHING, NO MATTER WHAT, IS EVER “GOOD ENOUGH.” THEY JUST SEE SOMETHING WRONG OR “NOT QUITE RIGHT” WITH EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY.

THE SAME CAN BE FOUND EVEN WITHIN OUR CHURCH BODY. INSTEAD OF FINDING CONTENTMENT THERE ARE STILL A SELECT FEW WHO ALWAYS SEEM TO BE GETTING CAUGHT UP IN THE SAME CYCLE OF DISSATISFACTION WITH JUST ABOUT ANYTHING.

WHETHER IT IS COMPLAINING THAT THE SERVICE GOES TOO LONG OR GRIPING THAT THE MUSIC IS TOO LOUD, THE KIDS TOO NOISY AND THE SERMONS TOO BORING, WE DO NOTHING MORE THAN BECOME A GREAT HINDRANCE TO GOD’S WORK BECAUSE WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO BECOME ENTANGLED WITH COMPLAINING!

LIFE’S PREDICAMENTS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE PRODUCING GODLY CHARACTER IN US, BUT INSTEAD WE SOMETIMES ALLOW NEGATIVE CIRCUMSTANCES TO GET THE BEST OF US AND WE BECOME BITTER AND SARCASTIC.

WITH THIS BITTERNESS LOCKED AWAY IN OUR HEARTS THEY CAN BECOME SEEDS FERTILIZED BY SATAN THAT CAN QUICKLY GROW INTO WAYS THAT DESTROY OUR TESTIMONIES, WEAKEN OUR FAITH, AND HURT THE CAUSE OF CHRIST.

REGARDLESS IF IT’S THE WEATHER, THE PRESIDENT, GOVERNMENT, OR CHURCH DOCTRINE IT SEEMS THAT WE CAN ALWAYS FIND SOMETHING WRONG TO COMPLAIN ABOUT.

INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING SO MUCH, IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT IN OUR SCRIPTURE PASSAGE THAT IT IS A CHRISTIAN’S DUTY TO FIND “GLORY” IN THEIR TRIBULATIONS.

THE WORD GLORY IN VERSE THREE IS THE SAME GREEK WORD THAT IS USED TO TRANSLATE THE WORD “REJOICE” IN VERSE 2! TO GLORY IN OUR TRIBULATIONS MEANS THAT WE ARE TO REJOICE THAT WE CAN SUFFER FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST!

NOT ONLY ARE WE CALLED TO REJOICE IN OUR TRIBULATIONS, PHYSICAL HARDSHIPS, AND SUFFERINGS OF LIFE, BUT WE ARE CALLED TO DO OUR REJOICING WITH GREAT PERSEVERANCE. PERSEVERANCE MEANS “STEADFAST ENDURANCE.” WHAT THIS MEANS FOR US IS THAT WE MUST RESIST THE PRESSURE TO BACK OFF, LET UP, GIVE IN OR GIVE UP.

AS CHRIST ENDURED THE CROSS AND TRIUMPHED OVER IT WE TOO MUST PICK UP OUR CROSS TO BEAR UP UNDER AND TRIUMPH OVER OUR TRIBULATIONS. JAMES 1:2-3, TELLS US, “CONSIDER IT PURE JOY, MY BROTHERS, WHENEVER YOU FACE TRIALS OF MANY KINDS, BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH DEVELOPS PERSEVERANCE.”

HERE LIES ONE OF THE DISTINCTIVES OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH. THE BELIEVER IS TAUGHT TO GLORY AND REJOICE IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING RATHER THAN TO CRY AND COMPLAIN BY SUBMITTING TO OUR SUFFERINGS AS A NECESSARY OR INEVITABLE EVIL.

ALLOW THESE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS TO BUILD WITHIN YOU CHRISTIAN CHARACTER BECAUSE, AS YOU MAY HAVE HEARD, CHARACTER INDICATES TESTED VALUES.

IF WE WILL RESPOND TO SUFFERING AND HARDSHIPS WITH THE PROPER ATTITUDE WE WILL SOON FIND, WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE, THAT OUR HOPE HAS BEEN STRENGTHENED.

ONCE YOU ALLOW YOU ALLOW YOUR HOPE TO BECOME STRONG YOU CAN PROCLAIM ALONG WITH JOB, “WHEN HE HAS TRIED ME, I SHALL COME FORTH AS GOLD” (JOB 23:10).

JOB WAS SIMPLY STATING THAT HIS STRENGTHENED HOPE IS JUST LIKE GOLD WHEN PUT IN THE HEAT OF A FURNACE. ONCE IT IS SUBJECTED TO THE SEARING HEAT OF THE FLAMES IT COMES OUT PURIFIED AND POSSESSES A HIGHER VALUE.

THE SAME IS TRUE FOR US WHEN WE CHOOSE TO LEARN FROM JOB BY DEVELOPING THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE IS PURIFYING POWER IN OUR TIMES OF AFFLICTION. WE CAN HAVE THE GREATEST CONFIDENCE THAT ANYTIME WE GO THROUGH THE TIMES OF TESTING WE WILL COME FORTH PURIFIED WHEN THE TRIAL IS OVER.

IF WE ARE TO JOIN JOB AND BECOME REFINED AS PURE GOLD I BELIEVE THERE ARE 5 UNIQUE STEPS WE CAN TAKE TO HELP US OVERCOME THE URGE TO COMPLAIN.

THE FIRST STEP TO HELP US CURE OUR COMPLAINING IS TO REMEMBER THAT YOUR TROUBLES DID NOT TAKE GOD BY SURPRISE. HE IS STILL IN CONTROL. PSALM 121:3-8, SAYS, “HE WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR FOOT TO BE MOVED; HE WHO KEEPS YOU WILL NOT SLUMBER. BEHOLD, HE WHO KEEPS ISRAEL SHALL NEITHER SLUMBER NOR SLEEP. THE LORD IS YOU KEEPER, THE LORD IS YOUR SHADE AT YOUR RIGHT HAND. THE SUN SHALL NOT STRIKE YOU BY DAY, NOR THE MOON BY NIGHT. THE LORD SHALL PRESERVE YOU FROM ALL EVIL; HE SHALL PRESERVE YOUR SOUL. THE LORD SHALL PRESERVE YOUR GOING OUT AND YOUR COMING IN FROM THIS TIME FORTH, AND EVEN FOREVERMORE.”

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