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Summary: God calls us to grow and mature in our faith. How can we move through adversity and grow closer to Him.

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Growing and Maturing

October 28, 2012

James 1:2-5

Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next, well, let me tell you his story . . .

The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean his cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose so she could quickly clean his cage. Then the phone rang. She thought she could pick up the phone and balance the vacuum tube. But she’d barely answered the phone, when she heard that “whoosh” sound. Before she knew it, Chippie got sucked in.

She screamed, hung up the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.

Since he was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, and held Chippie under the water. She realized Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted poor Chippie with hot air.

Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.

A few days after the trauma, Chippie’s owner said, "Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."

It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That’s enough to steal the song from any heart.

“Sucked in, washed up, and Blown over.” Maybe that sums up how many of us feel at times.

It describes the certainty of trials and feelings of powerlessness they bring. James reminds us of the reality that even in the Christian life, there are troubles, trials, tribulations and temptations. However, the Christ follower doesn’t have to be a victim of their circumstance, but can have victory even in difficult times. James tells us no matter what we’re going through, we can experience victory through faith in Christ.

Listen to the words of James ~

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.

4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James has some very sobering words for us this morning. He tells us we will go through trials in life. Note James says, ‘Whenever’ you face trials . . . not “if you go through trials.” Or you may or might, or if your one of the lucky ones, you will be skipped. He tells us troubles, trials, testing, and temptations are not electives, but part of the core curriculum of life. There will be various types of trials. They may involve the pain of a chronic illness or an untimely death. Some know the heartache of a broken marriage or a short-circuited romance. Trouble may come from a family member. It could be addiction issues. Some struggle with problems in business and finances. Others combat lingering depression, or other ailments.

We will all have troubles in life. Nobody is exempt. I don’t care how saintly you are, nobody is immune. Jesus’ words in John 16:33 are sobering, In this world you will have trouble. But thankfully, that’s not all He said!

We can all name trials we’ve gone through or are presently going through. If I asked you, “Would you like to go through that again?” We would say, “No way.”

In the midst of our trials and life storms, we aren’t very thankful. Some want to follow the advice of Job’s wife, “Curse God and die.” And if we were to be really, really honest with one another, sometimes that seems like the best answer. After all, if you’re a believer in Jesus, then what better place to end up in, than heaven. We don’t want to suffer through our trials, we’ll do anything to avoid them, which also leads us into trouble.

Some of us are currently going through trials and storms, which makes us feel like we’re under a very heavy burden. It hurts. It’s unpleasant. Sometimes we despair, we cry, we’re angry at the burden. And sometimes we’re angry at God.

Then James makes what may appear to be an outlandish statement at the end of verse 1. He says ‘consider it nothing but joy’ to go through those trials. So next time a loved one or a good friend is suffering, throw that at them, “hey bud, what’s your problem, you should be thrilled God picked you to go through this trial.” Say it . . . then run.

Think back on your trials and think about the things you learned from those trials. Maybe you can think of times when you’ve suffered or when things haven’t worked out the way they should, but now that you look back on it, you can see where you’ve learned and grown.

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