Summary: A discussion on trials. All trials go back to what we believe about God (the trial of your "Faith"). Message ends with some medicine for those in trials.
God's RX For What Ails You
We are in a series of messages based on the book of James entitled, "Seeing things from the right Angle." Today we are gong to be talking about seeing trials from the right angle, but more than that we are going to talk about thriving in a trial, and not just surviving.
Last week we gave an introductory message on who James was and talked in part about his spiritual journey on how he went from sinner to saint, and then from saint to servant. Or as he calls himself a bond slave. I pointed out that in the OT if you were a slave and you loved your master you would have your ear pierced and declare yourself to be His slave forever. We could say it this way, because He was pierced for me, I will pierce my ear for Him.
That was verse 1, and James wastes no time in getting to practical issues and in verse 2 he begins a short discussion on trials. Now I remind you that James was probably the first book chronologically written in the New Testament. In the first book, the first major subject tackled is trials, and there is a very good reason for that. If you were here last week, I pointed out that the church at this time consisted almost exclusively of Jewish people who had accepted Jesus as their Messiah. This was prior to the monumental event of Acts 10. (In Acts 10 the Jews were shocked to find out that gentiles could be saved).
I want to point out something from verse 1 that puts things in perspective and then we will get to today's passage.
James 1:1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad, greetings.
James is writing to be people who have been scattered abroad because of persecution. First as Jews, now as Christians. Nobody likes them. First no one likes them because they are Jews, secondly the Jews don't like them because they are Christians. Their lot in life was not an easy one. But James message to them is the exact same one His half-brother preached, "In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer...." Here is James saying essentially the same thing:
Jas 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
Jas 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Jas 1:4 And let endurance have [its] perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Jas 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
I am going to break this message down into several areas I will stop this message in the middle and continue it next week.
First I want to tackle something about trials James doesn't mention, his lack of discussion of this angle is glaring, but it makes perfect sense why he doesn't discuss it, which I will also explain.
The aspect of trials that James doesn't cover is the, "why" of trials.
Here are 8 different reasons for the why of trials:
The first three are the past, present and the future.
The past - sowing and reaping.
The present - it is expedient for the present distress. In other words because of the present world situation. It may have nothing to do with you personally but the age in which you live.
The future - You are being prepared for something down the road.
Your location on the earth: Alaska, has a climate that will try you. The Middle East - locusts, and famines.
Your physical, mental, and emotional constitution. My nephew James can't get near peanuts. I love them. A major trial for you may be nothing to me, because of our differing constitutional makeup. One man will fall apart if he gets laid off, another will rejoice and trust the Lord with the exact same situation. But in a reversal of situations the one who has faith about being laid off may freak out over some swelling in his abdomen fearing he has come down with cancer, while the one who fell apart about being laid off, has no concerns about a little swelling. It all comes down to our mental, emotional, and spiritual makeup. You may be strong in one area and weak in another. Your trial may be a little thing, but because of the way you have been wired physiologically, and through the circumstances of life it may be cataclysmic to you. The why is your personal weakness not any great trial.
The sinfulness of others.
The devil testing you.