Sermons

Summary: The lesson on how to suffer successfully involves the whole of one's spiritual life and relationship to God. In learning this lesson we will learn that which is necessary to be a complete and entire Christian.

Imagine the testing of the body in such a sport as football. To be on

your feet and seconds later brought to the ground hard and fast. Then

to get up and do it again, and again, and again, but constantly moving

forward. All of that falling is not what wins the game, but whether or

not you win depends a great deal on how you fall. In fact, it has been

pointed out that when the coaches begin to train their teams the first

lesson they teach is not how to make a touchdown, but how to fall. For

days they learn to fall limp and to roll so as not to be injured. There is

nothing good about a fall. It is only a hindrance to reaching the goal,

but if you don't learn how to fall successfully it is not likely you will

ever get a chance to reach the goal. All the training is not to cross the

goal line, but to survive until you get there.

What is true in football is likewise true in life in general. If we

hope to make life a successful experience, and reach some worthy

goals, the first thing we need to learn is how to fall. Life is always

filled with obstacles to overcome. Scripture says, "Man is born to

trouble as the sparks fly upward." And, "Man that is born of a

woman is a few days, and full of troubles," says the book of Job. The

Bible from Genesis to Revelation gives a realistic picture of life, and

that picture looks more like a washboard than a slide. We must face

the facts of Scripture and history and realize that the future holds

trials, troubles, and for some even tragedy. This realism in the Bible,

however, is combined with an optimism because it reveals to us the

way to triumph through our trials.

The Bible is very practical and one of the books most noted for

being practical is the book of James. It was written by James, not the

Apostle, but James the brother of our Lord. It was written by a man

who grew up with Jesus in the same family, and who knew his

teachings very well. There are more references to the Sermon on the

Mount in James than in all the other Epistles put together. It also has

the distinction of being one of the first books of the New Testament to

be written. It was written about 45A.D.; less than 20 years after the

death of Jesus. The very first lesson that James teaches, like that of

the football coach, is the lesson on how to fall, or if we were to give it a

title we might call it, The Secret Of Successful Suffering. In these first

few verses James tells us of three requirements necessary for the

successful suffering of trials. The first is

I. A POSITIVE RESPONSE OF THE WILL TO TRIALS. verse2.

The difference between tragedy and triumph is all in how you count

your trials. James says by an act of the will count it all joy when tried.

Don't let circumstances take you captive and control your life, but

compel them to yield the fruit of joy by a choice of the will. The

Christian is never to be under the circumstances, always on top of

them. Faith does not change what life brings to you, but it is to change

what you bring to life. Every trial calls for a choice that involves the

will. It is not what happens that determines a person attitude, but how

they chose to count what happens. One man can get a flat on the way

to work and count it a blast from the hand of fate, and be upset all day

because he lost an hour of work. Another can have the same

experience and count it as the providential protection of God that may

have saved his life, and he rejoices all day in thanksgiving to God. The

difference between the scowling crab and a smiling Christian is all in

how you count your trials. The scowler counts them a jinx; the smiler

counts them a joy.

The Bible has a high view of man's will power, especially after he

has been delivered from being dominated by the forces of evil. For

James to say, count it all joy, it is assumed that if they will so choose

they have the will power to do so, and only if they do can they be

successful in their suffering. James can urge them, warn them, and

counsel them, but only they can make the choice, but they can if they

will.

When those two planes crashed in mid air some years ago killing all

aboard there were three men who watched it on the radar screen.

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