Summary: If my suffering produces the result God desires for my life – when do I pray, bring on the rain?”
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“Bring on the rain…”
“If my suffering produces the result God desires for my life – when do I pray, bring on the rain?”
Sunday morning Sermon
Intro: (Start with title and text)
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV)
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Growing in your Christian life will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. Adding to your faith goodness and to that foundation of faith and that layer of goodness knowledge and to that knowledge self-control and on top of all of that perseverance and to that godliness and on and on – it’s not easy. I don’t want to be ineffective and unproductive in my knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ. My guess is, neither do you. So how does God create in us the ability to grow, and mature, and be effective and productive? How does God create in his children, all of those things that will lead us to the goal of our faith, which is our salvation? What’s the word would you use to describe how God grows us into people he can use for his purpose?
Here’s the word: Suffering. It’s not an easy word to digest. You’ve seen the bumper sticker – NO PAIN, No…gain, right? I like this one better – No Pain, No Pain…We don’t like to suffer.
My favorite time of the year is spring. I love to see the flowers bloom out. I love the trees full of green leaves. This past spring we could sit on the back porch and see the baby ducks as they followed the momma duck. One thing I don’t like about the spring is the rain. It makes the grass grow, and I have to spend time pushing a lawn mower. It makes the weeds grow and I have to spend time pulling them out of the ground. The rain makes things grow. That’s true in life too. We go through seasons of growth – seasons where it doesn’t seem to stop raining. When I was a kid and it rained, we’d always check the rain gauge to see how much. Maybe in your life, the rain gauge is full. I’ve got a word for you this morning. The storms in your life, the rain in your life – the times of suffering, each produces something better than before.
Turn with me to James 1:2-8 (Read)
Our response to the suffering in our lives is important. James gives us 3 responses to trials and testing our faith.
I. Joy (Advance)
James 1:2 (NIV) – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
a. Seems like a strange response
i. Life + Trials = Joy
I want to suggest something – this is not a natural response. I don’t think you identify a trial in your life and have an overwhelming feeling of joy.
b. A natural response
i. Confusion – questions like:
“Why is this happening to me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” You look at your life – you attend church, you listen to well developed sermons each week, you give your time and money, you do crazy water bottle projects. You add everything in your life together and it’s confusing why the trials come – why the testing of your faith – has to be difficult to go through. Sometimes the response is different:
ii. Rejection of the Christian life
This involves a movement away from the fellowship of believers. This involves a movement away from dedication. A person with this reaction might even look around and justify their movement away. Listen this happens over and over for a number of different reasons. Regardless of where you are in your Christian walk – some of my very best friends are no longer in ministry because of this testing process.
c. What brings joy in a trial?
I think this has much to do with the church’s response to those who are going through these trials. I think it has much to do with the depth of friendship and relationship, and family.
i. Biblical Joy – “Pure joy”
1. Not based on situations
The boss walks in and says – we’ve decided to give you a 50% raise – that might make you a little excited – but that’s not Biblical joy. That’s happiness based on the situation. When the situation changes – so will your happiness. The boss walks in and says – “we’re going in a different direction”, which is basically the same as saying, “you’re fired.” – it might make you upset – but when the situation changes so will feelings of being upset.