Summary: After you’re saved, you have to make the decision to receive the Word of God as the divine, final authority for your life, and invest your believing in the whole counsel of the Word of God. When you come to this point, you position yourself to grow in fai
A. When we live by the Word of God, adversity will come our way because the enemy of our souls will do everything he can to resist the unfolding will of God in each one of our lives.
B. Some of the trials we face are going to seem pretty fiery while we’re in the middle of them. Many Christians will point at God and say, “I’ve been a good person. I’ve gone to church. I give in the offering. Why are You letting this happen to me?” Difficulty will come with some degree of regularity, but you don’t need to get down about it. The Bible says you can rejoice by faith during difficulty when you know that He is faithful, and His glory will be revealed when you do your part.
C. How is God’s glory revealed? His glory is revealed when His promise is fulfilled: the captive is set free and deliverance is revealed.
D. This verse says that we are to be “partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” That means we should understand what Christ suffered because those are the only kinds of things we should identify with. Jesus did not suffer sickness and disease, poverty and lack, depression or oppression. He was never overcome by self-pity. The suffering that Jesus did came as a result of His living on the basis of God’s Word and the satanic resistance to it, mostly in the form of persecution.
E. Although sickness and disease are not to be identified with the sufferings of Jesus, we will encounter them in this sin-cursed world because man rebelled and gave the reins of authority to Satan. The good news is that Jesus said there will be tribulation in this world but He has overcome the world (John 16:33). You will have to deal with those things (sickness, disease, etc.), but they’re not to be associated with the sufferings of Jesus.
F. We see more about trials in James 1:2: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations....” The Amplified Bible says, “temptations, tests, and trials.” The Greek word is peirasmos, which the Strong’s Concordance defines as “a putting to proof by experience of adversity.”
G. Who is trying to prove what? James 1:13 says when temptation comes, “let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man....” Who tempts us? The tempter, not God. The host of darkness is behind the difficulties you’re going to face.
H. God will use adversity to strengthen you when you do your part to grow character but that doesn’t mean adversity is the will of God. God simply is not going to give the Devil enough respect to take your life around his obstacles.
I. What is being “put to proof” during adversity? James 1:3 says, “...knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Faith is what the battle is about. Since all things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23) and it’s going to be unto you according to your faith (Matthew 9:29), the only thing the enemy can do to inhibit the will of God in your life is to affect the way you believe.
J. Since Adam bowed his knee and gave authority to Satan, Satan is the god of this world and manipulates circumstance and unwitting people to produce adversity for one primary purpose: to put to proof what you believe. If he can’t shape your faith, he can’t rob you of the will and blessing of God.
K. According to James, what does the trying of your faith produce? Patience. Patience is defined by Strong’s as cheerful endurance and constancy. James 1:4 says, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect [mature] and entire, wanting nothing.” The state of being “perfect and entire, wanting nothing” means that God will bring you to a place where wrong wants are changed and right desires are fulfilled. This is where the Lord wants you to be because our lives are ultimately to be turned outward to address the needs of a hurting and dying world, not focused on ourselves and our own need.
L. Patience means cheerful consistency. Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of the Lord is your strength. Take the enemy with a grain of salt and laugh in his face. Endure cheerfully and rejoice knowing that if you don’t quit, you will become perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
M. There is a difference between believing and faith. Believing is more generic in that it applies to anything you believe, whether it’s right or wrong. Everybody makes decisions on the basis of what they believe is going to be in their best interests or their family’s best interests. On the other hand, faith is a particular kind of believing. Faith believes the Word of God is true and a revelation of God to you.