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Summary: This sermon helps people deal with problems. It gives four facts about problems, three positive affects of problems and three keys to handling problems.

Power Over Your Problems

Today we are starting an in depth series on the book of James. Last week we looked at an overview of James. We found that James wants us to grow up. God wants us to become mature Christians. This week we are going to discover that you can have power over your problems.

The book of James is a very practical book. It could be the most practical book in the Bible. It is a manual for Christian living. James starts out with a bang. Let’s go ahead and read James chapter one and verse two.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

James starts his letter by telling people – “You got problems – be happy.” How? How can you be happy when you got problems? A key word in this passage is – “knowing”. In the Greek it means to know absolutely. Go ahead and circle that word in your text.

James is telling us we can be happy – we can count it all joy – because we know something – we know that “the testing of our faith produces patience.” You see – your attitude is a product of your understanding.

Rejoicing over problems is not just positive thinking. You can rejoice over your problems because you know something – you understand something – you have knowledge that affects your behavior - you understand that God is able to make something good come out of something bad. He can take your bad situations and turn them around to produce something good. That’s why James can write:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

Let me give you four facts about problems. Fact one:

1. Problems are INEVITABLE.

Notice that verse two does not say, “’IF” you fall into various trials – it says ‘WHEN’.” ‘WHEN’ means – you can count on it! It’s going to happen. You are going to have problems. If you don’t have problems – you’re not human. Problems are a fact of life. Acts chapter fourteen verse twenty two says:

"Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times." Acts 14:22 (MSG)

You can wish, you can dream and you can hope that you will have no problems but the simple fact remains – problems are inevitable. No one is immune.

Fact two:

2. Problems are UNPREDICATABLE.

The second word that we need to look at in our text is – ‘various’. James tells us we will fall into “various” trials. In the Greek this word literally means – ‘uncertain or unexpected’. Problems are not planned. We seldom can anticipate the problems we are going to have in life. We don’t plan to have a flat tire. We don’t plan to get cancer. We don’t plan to have a crisis. But they happen! And they usually happen when they are least expected. We don’t plan to have problems – that’s why they are problems. They are often inconvenient and they are always unpredictable.

Fact three:

3. Problems come in a variety of SHAPES and SIZES.

One thing about problems – you don’t get bored with them. There are big ones and there are little ones. There are a wide variety of them. They vary in intensity. They vary in duration. They vary in variety. Some are major crisis. Some are minor inconveniences. But they all are problems. They come in different shapes and sizes.

Here is fact four:

4. Problems have a PURPOSE.

Pain can be productive. Suffering can accomplish something. In fact problems can have three positive affects on your life.

A. Problems help you PURIFY your faith.

James uses the word “testing”.

“…the testing of your faith produces patience.”

We are tested like gold and silver so that we can become pure. Both gold and silver are heated up so that the impurities – the dross – can be taken out. The pressures of life are there to build your character. Your faith develops when things don’t go as planned. Your faith develops when you do what is right when everything else is going wrong. Christians are like steel; when they are tested by the flames of life they get stronger. You see – problems purify your faith.

B. Problems help you PRODUCE patience.

James says,

“…the testing of your faith produces patience.”

James is talking about a long term effect on your character. This is not a short term attitude. It is long lasting. The Greek word literally means – “the ability to stay – even under pressure.”

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