Summary: "Self" is who we rely on in most storms, but "self" has no ability to help. It is "God" who must be depended on for He alone has the ability to help us in our valleys of despair. (Audio will be placed at www.sermonlist.com/2007.html)
A man was in the hospital for tests, and the doctor came in to see him. The doctor said he had some bad news and some really bad news for the man, and wanted to know which one he wanted to hear first.
The patience said to tell him the bad news first. The doctor said the bad news was he only had 24 hours to live. Panicked, the man asked what the really bad news was and the doctor said, “The really bad news was that I forgot, but I was supposed to tell you the bad news yesterday.”
We may not have experienced that kind of bad news, but every person in here has experienced troubles in their life. In truth, it seems like every time we turn around, we are having some kind of difficulty, doesn’t it? Have you ever wondered just why God would let His children have problems? Do you think it might have something to do with our being hard of hearing when it comes to listening to what He is telling us?
JAMES 1:2-3 talks about the troubles we have in life.
‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of you faith develops perseverance.’
The first thing you will notice is that James does not say we should rejoice “if” we have trials. He said “whenever” we have trials. I think that pretty much means that all of us can expect to have troubles come into our lives on a regular basis as long as we live here on this earth.
Considering that, there are certain things we must to, and the first is …
1. LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEMS
Why do you think we have so many problems in our lives? Could it be that instead of focusing on God, we focus on ourselves? It seems the most important letter in the English language is the letter “I”. If you took CLASS 101, you found out that the middle letter in sin is “I”. Sometimes we focus too much on ourselves and not enough on God.
There are some who believe that if you have problems, it is because you do not have enough faith. They say the stronger your faith, the less problems you will have. I do not believe that. Let me give you one very clear example of why I say that.
We are all given a measure of faith – not more or less than anybody else. It is our choice on what we do with that faith. We can use it, exercise it, and watch it grow, or we can ignore it and watch it wither. A case in point is the disciples. Nobody had greater faith than they did once they received the Holy Spirit, yet every one of them suffered untold calamity and persecution in their lives.
Am I to believe that the Apostle Paul had problems because his faith was not in order? I think not. One reason we have troubles is God uses these trials to mold the willing believer into a stronger believer.
In DEUTERONOMY 8:1-8, we find that the Lord wants us to remember that the most important thing in our lives are the Words that come out of the mouth of the Lord. He is disciplining us as we discipline the children we love – all so they will know right from wrong and live accordingly.
We don’t seem to be able to read God’s Word and fully put it to use in our lives, so we need another way to learn how to be humble to God. That way is to be taught. And, that is the reason we have trials in our lives – to teach us how to become more reliant upon Him in all things. And, if we learn to fully rely on Him during the bad times, we will be able to do it in the good times, too.
We all have problems, and I have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is you are going to have more! The good news is, we can learn to put our trust in God, and He will get us through those problems with far less damage than we ever had before.
Learning how to deal with our problems will also help us to …
2. LEARN HOW TO REACT TO OUR PROBLEMS
Now, you might be thinking that we are supposed to be elated whenever we have a problem, but that is not what James meant. James meant that when we have a problem, we can react to that problem in only one of two ways. We can choose to act like humans and try to figure out how we can solve it, or we can choose to go to God and ask for His help.