Summary: Inspired by "PDL" and compares life to godly metaphors


James 4:1-17

* If I were to ask you to describe your life in a metaphor, what would that metaphor be? Let me offer some possibilities: Would it be a symphony, battle, puzzle, journey, minefield, dance, a dramatic play, or maybe ‘a party?’ And these serve as only some of the words which might fit the bill.

* Even though you may never have thought about it, your concept about this speaks more about your life than you might think. For instance, if you think life is a battle you are constantly looking for a fight (and there will always be someone to oblige you), if you think life is a minefield you will likely become paralyzed in attempting anything for fear it will blow up in your face (I.E. relationships, business interests, and even church ministry), and if your think it’s party all you’ll want to do is “have fun.” While this approach might be pleasing to hear, when taken in context of creation, we must know that it is inaccurate at worst and incomplete at best. Forrest Gump’s mom says, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”

* Might I submit to you that life is too short, too important, and too personal to leave to chance? Wouldn’t it be best to give our absolute best in this?

* God the creator, designer, and sustainer of life has HIS view of life, HIS own metaphors for life, and as the designer, He knows the best way to “live”. Not only does He have His own plans for life, but more to the point, He has plans and a direction for YOUR life. Whether you actually find His plan for you and thus, abundant life (or life to the fullest) will largely depend on your view of life, that is, what your life’s is like. If we’re arrogant, we’ll try it by ourselves. If we are abased, we’ll think that He don’t care about us. However, if we desire to be our best, we will look to both the designer’s manual & the designer Himself.

* Through His word, God reveals 3 metaphors for life which we need to see;

1. Life is a Test – This concept goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden and continues all the through the Revelation. Adam and Eve were told not to eat of the tree as a test of their love for God, Abraham was told to sacrifice his son of ‘promise’ as a test of his commitment, Daniel faced a lion’s den while the 3 Hebrew boys faced the fiery furnace, and the list goes on as does the testing. Scripture is replete with words like “test, trial, temptation, refining, and more. Over 200 times we read these words and understand their meaning, at least, we understand in the abstract. But how about in the practical? Can you get your mind around how Jacob felt when Laban required him to work an additional 7 years for Rachael? Can you really imagine how David or Peter felt when they failed their tests so miserably?

* The tests of life are continuous and mysterious. Although we don’t know all the reasons or the ways that God uses to test us, we do know He tests us to see our heart, our love, our hope, character, and our faith.

* Though we don’t know all the things He chooses to test us with, we can see and know SOME of those tools. Some of God’s testing instruments;

* He uses “changes” to test us. These test our ability to learn, grow, and be remade. May I submit this could be a parallel to the potter and the clay? When the clay becomes hardened, it is of no use to the potter. God desires for us to be pliable and flexible that He can make & remake us.

* He uses “delayed promises” to test us. This tests our patience. We are kind of like 3 years old (with which I have some experience) who want what has been promised and they want it NOW.

* He uses “impossible problems” to test us. Have you ever considered exactly what an impossible problem is? It is any problem you have which hasn’t been turned over to the Lord. If I have a problem that “I” can handle, chances are that on my own, “I’ll” handle it wrong. These things test our dependence on God.

* He uses “unanswered prayers” to test us. These test our faith in God. If God doesn’t answer our prayer, then something must be wrong with God. Yet our text today teaches us that we do not have because we do not ask or when we do ask, we ask with the wrong heart, motivation, and desires.

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