Summary: As you joyfully persevere in trials, God will transform you in this life and bless you in next.
We¡¦ve been talking the last few weeks about affliction and sufferings. Let me tell you a little parable about trials. A bird was flying south for the winter. It got so cold the bird froze up and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some manure on it. As it lay there in the pile of manure, it began to realize how warm it was. The manure was actually thawing it out! It lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the little bird singing, and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of manure, and promptly dug him out¡Xand ate him. The morals of the story are:
1. Not everyone who drops manure on you is your enemy.
2. Not everyone who digs you out of a pile of manure is your friend.
3. When you¡¦re in the manure, keep your mouth shut!
I want you to understand the first of those points. Because God is going to allow you to go through some tough times in your life. You may feel like you¡¦ve just been dumped on by that cow. But you must not see God as the enemy. As distasteful as trials are, they can have a tremendous benefit. What James 1 demonstrates today: As you joyfully persevere in trials, God will transform you in this life and bless you in next.
The first thing James focuses on is¡K
I. OUR PROBLEMS: TRIALS TEST OUR FAITH (2-3)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
A. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TRIALS IN YOUR LIFE
1. this passage is written to help you understand the meaning of those trials
a. how to handle them when they come
b. because (2) does not say ¡§if you face trials¡¨, but ¡§whenever¡¨
c. it says: you will ¡§face trials of many kinds¡¨
- like the little thing I saw the other day
= called ¡§how you can tell when its going to be a rotten day¡¨
1. You call Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold.
2. You see a ¡§60 Minutes¡¨ news team waiting in your office.
3. Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
4. You turn on the news and they¡¦re showing emergency routes out of the city.
5. Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
6. Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell¡¦s Angels on the freeway.
7. The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard.
8. Your income tax check bounces.
9. You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
10. You call your answering service and they tell you it¡¦s none of your business.
2. those trials come from many different sources
a. some trials come our way because we simply live in a fallen world
- since sin entered into this world, it doesn¡¦t work as it was designed
- there are always weeds and thorns in the garden of human experience
= Rom 8: created order has been subjected to futility/corruption¡K
= as a result of God¡¦s curse against human sin
- so we¡¦re subjected to trials because things break down
= brakes fail; buildings topple
- trials also come because the earth itself is out of control
= hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados wreak havoc
= diseases sweep through the human population
- its part of living in a fallen creation
b. some trials come to us because of the evil actions of other people
- the cause of most hunger in the world is not lack of food production
= but the unjust distribution of food by those in power
- you may lose your job because someone protected a crony
= or because a corporate president was stealing from the firm
- you may lose property because of theft or vandalism
- you may be harmed by someone¡¦s malicious act
c. some trials come to us from Satan
- as he attempts to destroy or hinder God¡¦s work in this world
- Satan has the power to afflict you: if God allows him to
d. of course: many of the trials in our lives are the consequence of our own choices and actions
3. regardless of what kind of trial it is: nothing can happen to you without God¡¦s permission
a. we¡¦re going to see: God has a purpose
- God is able to take trials of any kind, from any source¡K
= turn them to his greater objective
b. the best illustration of this is the cross of Christ
- in Acts 2:23, Peter explained the cross to the crowd in Jerusalem