Summary: The Holy Spirit commands us through James to choose to consider our trials to be blessings. How can we do that?
Count Your Trials to Be Blessings
Text: My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (Jam 1:2-4)
Text idea: James writes to the 12 tribes scattered abroad about responding to trials in a godly manner.
Sermon idea: The Spirit is still teaching us today through this passage that we must consider our trials to be fruit-producing blessings.
Interrogative: How should I respond to trials?
Transition: Our response to trials can and should be focused on the fact that God is preparing us for something important.
Painful circumstances are part of the road of life. No one is exempt from tragic losses. Death is no respecter of persons. Loved ones – snatched away suddenly leaving those who are left here lonely…hurting. You might have health one day and the next…health – suddenly gone. Wealth, and then one day wealth – suddenly gone. Tragedy inevitably comes…often without warning.
Painful circumstances are sometimes the result of sin. Sinners often suffer the natural consequences of their sin. AIDS, unplanned pregnancy, poverty (vices are expensive), the anguish of bitterness as parents sit in nursing homes because they taught their children by example to be selfish…and the list goes on. These are not intended to try faith, for sinners have none. Rather, their best result is to lead a sinner to saving faith. All trials are painful experiences but not all painful experiences are the trying of faith.
But what about good people? Sure, we understand that sinners suffer for their sins. But shouldn’t good people be exempt from painful experiences? What about all those saints who are in poverty or sickness? What about the godly people who are mocked and persecuted for their faith? Or those parents who try their hardest to raise their child to fear God and then that child comes home and informs their loving mother and father that they don’t believe in their God. “Jesus is imaginary! You taught me a bunch of lies. If your religion comforts you, I’m glad. I just can’t be that gullible. And I need to tell you something else. I’m gay.”
There once was a man who was perfect. He never lied, stole, hated, lusted, dishonored His mother or father…He was perfect. You might expect that he would be born into wealth. He was not. He was born into poverty. You might expect that man to have had no enemies…but He did. He had many. Things even got so bad that his friends were afraid to admit that they were his friends. He faced trouble. Loneliness; beatings from people whom he had done no wrong; crowds cried out for his death; he was spit upon; despised and rejected by his fellow man. That man was Jesus. The first and the last perfect man. HE experienced heartache. HE is our example.
In light of that fact we should “think it not strange” when painful things happen to us – we should expect it. With this knowledge we will beware of the fact that trials are inevitable.