Summary: “Christians are like teabags. You don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.”
Joy in Hard Times
(v2) “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials…”
- James is telling us to CONSIDER it joy when we encounter various trials.
- CONSIDER is different then BE.
- We are not going to be joyful when we are struggling in the midst of a trial.
- James is not telling us to BE joyful when we are hurting and struggling, but to CONSIDER it joy.
- This is a difficult thing to do. None of us enjoys trials in our lives.
- We are not going to be jumping for joy and bragging to our friends that we are experiencing a trial.
- So what is James saying? What is he telling us?
- Many of us can’t even grasp the understanding of why God would allow His children to experience trials, let alone consider them to be joy.
Transition: James is saying, “Consider it joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials…”
(v3) “…knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
- So we are to consider it joy when we encounter various trials by KNOWING…
1. It is a test of our faith
- How can a trial test our faith?
- Trials measure our faith.
- Any person’s faith can be measure by how much they are willing to sacrifice or bear for it.
- My pastor says, “Christians are like teabags. You don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.”
- People pay attention to you when you call yourself a Christian. They want to know what is so different. They want to know what the big deal is.
- Trials prove our faith and attract others to Christ. When we suffer and are experience trials, others can see the strength of Christ in us.
- They see that our faith in Christ is a living reality and they are drawn to Christ, to His salvation, love, care, and strength.
2. It will produce endurance.
- When trials, persecution, and temptations are overcome, our faith is made stronger and sharpened with patience.
- Although our faith is strengthened, we must not think that when we conquer Satan once, that the battle is over (Luke 4:13).
(v4) “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”
- Endure until your testing is over.
- What would have happened if Christ would have never went to the cross?
Transition: What do we do if we do not have this view of things?
(v5) “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.”
1. Ask God for the wisdom.
- Many times we understand what we need and who to get it from, but fail to act on what we know.
- James is talking about prayer here.
- We shouldn’t be praying so much for the removal of trials, persecution, and temptations, but we should be praying for the wisdom to make the right use of them.
- Example: “God, give me the strength to endure.” / “God, make this trial go away.”
- We must “ask God,” through prayer, for the wisdom of enduring or persevering through trials in our life.
- James gives us a glimpse at the character of God in this verse.
1. God is generous – “…who gives to all generously…”
- We can see that He is not only generous in the quantity of wisdom He gives, but He is also generous in who He gives to (all).
2. God is merciful – “…without criticizing…”
- When God gives you this wisdom, He does it with mercy.
- (Illustration) Kid going into the store. Be good and I will buy you something. The kid is rebellious, but doesn’t fail to ask for something. What happens? The dad usually pops the kid over the head and criticizes him for his rebellion and then buys him something anyway to stop the crying.
(v6-8) “6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
1. We must ask in faith (6).
- Ask with knowing that God can and will give you the knowledge you need to persevere or endure through your specific trial.
2. We must not doubt (7-8).
- When we do not ask in faith, we are allowing the worries of the world drive us one way and toss the other way, causing doubt.