Summary: James shows us how to emerge from trials having mastered the art of living and becoming all we were intended to be.
LIVING THE HIGH LIFE
Part 1. How to Avoid Sinking in Rough Seas
All true followers of Jesus are surrounded by a variety of endless trials and tests. How do we deal with them without sinking under the pressure? James reveals a secret: Instead of caving in under the pressure, we can use these trials as a spring-board for rocketing forward into a whole new level of living.
1. ENTERING INTO TRIALS (1:2-4)
The Christian life is not a victorious life, it is a victorious BATTLE!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
The joy comes in knowing that trials are not meaningless, they have a God ordained purpose – to grow you. The joy also comes in knowing God loves you enough to never waste a hurt.
2. ENDURING THROUGH TRIALS (1:5-11)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, (James 1:5a)
b. When you pray ask for wisdom
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).
James doesn’t say ask for strength, nor grace, nor deliverance from trouble. We are to ask for wisdom. Wisdom to see the matter from God’s perspective and wisdom not to waste this opportunity to grow.
c. Pray with an attitude of faith
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business (James 1:5-11).
Girls don’t look to "Retail Therapy" for releif from trouble and unhappiness. Guys don’t look to those "Big Boys Toys" for relief from the stress of troubles. These are faithless responses.
Financial security does not guarantee a smooth, trouble free life.
d. Surrender your will to God
God will not build our character without our co-operation or consent. Jonah obeyed God and went to Nineveh and never grew through the experience because of his reluctant obedience. Instead he went outside Nineveh, sat down and complained that God did not destroy the city. He was like a spoiled child. So be careful to obey but also to surrender your will to God’s.
3. EMERGING FROM TRIALS (1:12)
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12).
What is the crown? James calls it “the crown of life.” The crown is becoming someone who has truly mastered the art of living. Surely the crown is becoming who we were created to be – all that we can be – all that we were meant to be – all that God intended us to be – all that we dreamed we would be. The crown is to become like Christ. But there’s more to this crown than the benefits and rewards in this life. There’s is an etenal crown waiting in the next life for all those faithfully follow Christ. First comes the cross then the crown. First gthe suffering and then the glory.