Summary: Every Christian needs endurance; God gives us trials to help us mature and build our endurance for the course ahead.

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The Joy of Trials

James 1:2-4

I. Do YOU have trials?

a. Is there anyone who doesn’t?!

i. Chirpy the parakeet – News story about a parakeet that was mistakenly sucked up in the vacuum while his owner was cleaning his cage.

ii. Mark Dunn – College roommate whose waterbed seemed to have a hole in it… but it was the plumbing upstairs instead.

II. Count it all joy!

a. “Count ourselves supremely happy…”

b. Trials come from the LORD.

c. Trials strengthen us little by little…

i. The weightlifter…

ii. The boxer…

iii. The runner…

d. The Christian???

III. Testing our faith produces ENDURANCE!

a. Being willing to “keep on keepin’ on!”

i. First our willingness/patience is put to the test…

b. Living a life that allows you to be tested…

i. Being open to testing… Living by faith!

c. Having a faith that will withstand trials.

i. Sometimes we’ll crumble… sometimes we’ll get stronger!

d. Doing what God asks of us.

i. Love for our fellow man

ii. Kindness to others

iii. Spreading the Gospel

iv. Leadership by EXAMPLE

IV. Endurance produces something that every Christian ABSOLUTELY needs…

V. Phil 2:12-16 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for {His} good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

a. We need to give our salvation a workout

b. God expects us to work and continue steadfastly in our faith.

c. James says that faith without works is dead.

VI. Endurance produces MATURITY!

a. Give your salvation a “real” workout.

i. Take on a walk with Jesus that stretches you and helps you to grow.

b. All of us need to gain Spiritual Maturity…

c. If our faith isn’t being tested, how will we develop any maturity?

d. Discipleship means growth toward maturity by following in the footsteps of Jesus

e. Are we still feeding on the milk and missing the MEAT of our Christian diet?

f. Have we decided that we already “Know it all?”

VII. When we are going through trials…

a. We must respond by seeing through the eyes of faith that God is working in our lives!

VIII. Count it all JOY!

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

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