Summary: There are many difficulties that come in life. The Word tells us to persevere-continue on-be faithful--
“Count It All Joy”
INTRODUCTION: May the words of my lips and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight, giving praise, glory and honor to Your name our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen!
• Are you going through a trial today? Are you struggling through hardship? James, As he say’s - “count it all joy when you meet various trials”.
• One of the things that intrigues me most about the lives of the Saints is their ability to remain faithful in trials of all kinds. In many cases the Saints of God embraced persecution and even death for the sake of Christ. For instance Ignatius ran toward not away from the lions that killed him and the letters he wrote on his way to martyrdom, expressed joy in the thought of trials he would meet.
• Today, things are very different. In America we would consider type of thinking “crazy”. We seek to avoid trials and hardship as the enemy of life. When trials occur, our first prayer is that God end them immediately!
• But what if God has a purpose for pain, suffering and trials of all kinds? What do we miss out on by avoiding trials, seeking to shorten them not experiencing God’s purpose in the suffering? What do we miss?
ILLUSTRATION: For two years, scientists sequestered themselves in an artificial environment called Biosphere 2. Inside their self-sustaining community, the Biospherians created a number of mini-environments, including a desert, rain forest, even an ocean. Nearly every weather condition could be simulated except one, wind. Over time, the effects of their windless environment became apparent. A number of acacia trees bent over and even snapped. Without the stress of wind to strengthen the wood, the trunks grew weak and could not hold up their own weight. This is true with all who avoid trials of various kinds.
PROPOSITION: Christians are not to run from trials but to embrace them with “all joy”.
ORIENTATION: Let’s look at James together today as we see:
1. The Purpose Of Trials and Tribulation -
2. The Products Of Trails and Tribulation -
3. The Promise Of Trials and Tribulation – The Crown Of Life
TRANSITION: Let’s begin by looking at…
I. The Purpose Of Trials and Tribulation – Produce Steadfastness (v. 2-3)
One of the things the scriptures never suggest is that Christianity will be easy. Actually it teaches the opposite, that the essence of Christianity and our level of success in it, cannot be determined until we are in actively engaged in trials and tribulation. But while adversity is difficult, as is always with God, there is purpose in it. Let’s look now at what this purpose is?
Observation – In order to properly understand the purpose of trials and tribulation, we must first understand what James is saying…
v.2 “Count it”
• He begins with these two words - “count it”
• The phrase - “count it” literally means “consider”, or to have a change of mind about our trials, to view from a different perspective.
• That is, the temptations and trials of life are to prove us: they are for a beneficial purpose; they are permitted by God for a good purpose. What is that purpose? To make us stronger and more pure.
v.2 “all joy”
• The perspective on suffering we are supposed to adopt is that of “all Joy”?
• While, our immediate response is typically to avoid trials, James say’s we are to consider our trials not as a detriment but rather as a joyous occasion.
• Literally what James is saying is – not “mixed joy” but rather “pure” or “all” joy. James teaches that we are to embrace trials as moments of “pure joy”.
• But you ask, why in the heck would I want to do that?
v. 3 “The testing of our Faith”
• James begins to answer that question with the word “testing”. If there is a test, there is a tester, we need to remember that nothing happens outside the will of God. As such our suffering is not meaningless, but has purpose.
• God allows the situations in your life to occur and In this sense there is always a purpose in suffering. Understanding this is the beginning of understanding trials from God’s perspective.
• God does not test our faith as a means for Himself, He already knows, but rather uses it to show us where we are at, that we may continue to grow.
v. 3 “Produces steadfastness”
• Ultimately God uses our trials to produce in us steadfastness, which literally means unwavering, firm in belief and unmovable.
Interpretation – (v. 13, 14)
• James statement in 1:2 should cause you to pause, what he is really saying is that while trials are painful, they are like a workout, molding and shaping our faith and developing in us a steadfastness. This is required of us to complete the life of faith, the unmovable, unshakable commitment to Christ.