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Summary: What is the purpose of trials and tests?

Face to Face with our Faith

James 1:9-20

Max Lucado shares a story that happened in November 2004. A group of teenagers decided it would be fun to steal a car and go for a joyride. They find a credit card, get some groceries, a 20 lb turkey, and head to the video store. There they are caught on a surveillance charging $400 dollars worth of DVDs and video games.

They take off in a freezing rain in a silver Nissan, and cross paths with Victoria Ruvolo at approximately 12:30 a.m. They are going to come face to face with the reality of their lives.

Here in our text today the Bible tells us to come face to face with our faith. Trials come into the life of the believer so that we can examine our faith. All through the Bible God’s Word tells us to examine ourselves, and we see example upon example of God testing His people to see if we really are what we say we are.

Think of these verse with me, Proverbs 24:10, “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” James 1:3, “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” It is beneficial to us to go through adversity in our lives. God as our heavenly Father knows what is best for us and He is trying to mature us in our faith.

Adversity brings reality into our lives. Romans 12:3 reminds us, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Lets face it we get prideful, we forget God is God and we are not in control.

We all need reality checks in our lives. I heard a story about a lady who was a hypochondriac, and lying in her hospital bed. She prayed God please let me live a few more years. God said, “You are fine you will live many more years.”

She got a face lift, tummy tuck, lypo, the works. Walked out of the hospital and got hit by a car and died. She stands before God. She said, “God I thought you said I would live many more years?”

God said, “I’m sorry, to tell you the truth I didn’t recognize you.”

Let’s face it we don’t know what we need, why this happened or who we are. God however, has a perfect plan to mature our faith. Faith needs testing and trials to learn to trust. We must come face to face with the reality of who we are, what we believe, and why we believe it. As someone once said, “A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted.” Sometimes my dear friends we must strip off the makeup take off the masks and come face to face with who we are.

So today let me give you the three reasons God allows trials in our lives.

I. The Right Perspective—(v.9-11, 17) God wants us to gain the right perspective. What we have here in these verses is a contrast between God’s perspective and the world’s perspective. The term lowly brother means of low estate. It’s the same word that is used to describe Mary the mother of the Lord Jesus. The world would have called her nobody but from God’ perspective she was somebody. Why? She was more concerned about God’s kingdom than her own situation.

But America today and the church today have a hard time with this concept. Americans shell out more for garbage bags than 90 of the 210 countries spend for everything. America has double the number of shopping malls as it does High schools. Cure for the Common Life, Max, (pg.42)

See God is trying to help us see that we must have a right perspective and money seems to be where our perspective often times looks just like the worlds. Jesus spoke more on money than He did heaven or hell. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (KJV)

John D. Rockefeller was once asked, “How much money does it take to satisfy a man?” His answer was, “Just a little more.” If we really want to know a person we need only look at their checkbook. Where we spend our money definitely tells us what we really love.

The Right perspective tells that we are satisfied with what we have. Contentment is the key to unlocking the principles of money management. The Bible says in Proverbs 30:8-9, “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

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