Summary: This message focuses on how we allow temporary "sometimes moments" to overshadow our blessings.
Scriptures: James 1:2-5; 23
The title of my message this morning is “Sometimes.” This message came to me as I was actually meditating on another message in my series on the names of God. Let me give you a little background.
Sometimes things are going extremely well in our lives and sometimes they are not. Sometimes we are very happy and sometimes we are not. Sometimes we find it easy to praise God and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we have peace within our spirits and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we feel financially secure and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we want to be around a group of people and sometimes we wish to be left alone. The word connecting all of these situations is “sometimes.” The message that I have for you this morning is that “sometimes” means that whatever you are dealing with does not have to be “all the time.” The fact that we experience some things “sometimes” means that there are other times in which we are experiencing something else. The problem that we face is that when we are experiencing the negative “sometimes” we can get into a mindset that these negative “sometimes” becomes our “all the time” experiences and even when things are going well we are so tied to those “negative sometimes” that we fail to see the blessings that we are experiencing in the present. This also holds true when we adopt the negative “sometimes” as our always reality and we begin to live through those experiences. All of know people who are so negative that it is hard for them to feel positive about anything. It can be so bad that even when you’re feeling good about something in your life their negativity puts a damper on you. Then there are those times when we are the negative ones and we are the ones that are casting that shadow of negativity as we focus on what is wrong in our lives.
This morning I hope that you walk away with the knowledge that our “sometimes” moments do not have to define us and that we can be defined by the inner core of our being that is so locked on Jesus that our sometimes moments do not move us off center. I want to encourage you to understand and accept the fact that even though you’re experiencing these negative “sometimes” moments it also means that there are times in your life when you’re not experiencing them at all. Sometimes mean just that, “sometimes” which is not “all the time.” What we allow the negative sometimes moments to do in our lives is up to us, but we do have a decision to make. Our negative “sometimes” moments do not have to become so prevalent in our lives that it is all we can see and concentrate on. We can choose to make the tough decision, actively deal with a situation we are facing, and in effect move beyond those negative “sometimes” moments. Turn with me to James 1:2-4.
I. Trials Can Strengthen Us if We Do Not Give Up
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
We think that our negative “sometimes” moments are hard to bear, but think about what James wrote and to whom he wrote it. In the earliest years of the Church, those who chose to accept Christ were faced with unrelenting persecution for their belief. Every single day they were confronted by hostile powers that were coming against them and their sole purpose was to try and influence them to turn their backs on their faith. They faced culture, pagan religion, government, unsaved family and friends all of whom were putting constant pressure on them to forfeit their faith and return to their old ways. The challenges that we are facing today do not compare much to the challenges they faced. We have a government that will allow us to worship however we choose. Although we might have some family and friends who are not saved, they are probably not trying to get us to go back to the way we used to be. I am not making light of the struggles that we are facing, but I just want to put into perspective what James said. When James wrote this, there were Christians who were being taken from their homes, put in jail and then thrown into an arena to be mauled and eaten by hungry lions. There were Christians who were burned alive at the stake for professing Christ. This is what the receivers of this letter from James lived every single day and yet he was telling them to count it all joy when they faced these things because of their relationship with Jesus Christ. He told them that the testing of their faith produced endurance – in other words, these testing would enable them to become stronger.