Summary: Christians are like tea bags: You don’t really know what’s in them until you put them in hot water. Discover God’s purpose behind your problems!
The Problem with Problems
What makes you lose your patience the quickest and in what circumstances?
1. abrasive people
2. family members especially
3. delays on the interstate
4. slow rush hour traffic
6. a slow checkout line at Wal-Mart
7. trying to get out of a parking lot after a ballgame
8. when surrounded by a mountain of work
9. when you are sick and waiting in the emergency room
10. car trouble leaving you stuck on the freeway
One thing is certain and Jesus said it: “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33)
Once we understand that problems do have purpose, we can better handle the trouble that comes our way.
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
God’s number 1 purpose in your life is to make you like Jesus. If God is going to make me like Jesus, He is going to have to put me through things like Jesus went through. There were times when Jesus was lonely, fatigued, tempted, frustrated, and discouraged.
Two of the ways God makes me like Jesus:
1) Through the word of God
John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
2) Through the way life happens
James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds...”
Peter said, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you” (I Peter 4:12).
If we are to survive the rigors of the trials we must face and overcome them and become like Jesus, then there are some survival techniques we must recognize:
Christian Survivors know the owner of the island!
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.”
God owns the Island. No matter how dense the jungle, the Lord is King of the jungle! No matter what happens in this life to me, losing is not an option. God desires my survival!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Christians Survivors know the value of difficult times.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends,
when tests and challenges come at you from all sides!”
James 1:2 (The Message)
Problematic Facts about Problems:
1) Problems are not an elective in life. Problems are the required course!
2) Problems are unpredictable. We don’t plan a flat tire.
3) Problems come in various shapes and sizes. The word means “multi-colored”. Problems will come in so many shapes, sizes, and forms that there is no way you can ever be bored with them!
Now some good news....
4) Problems are not permanent!
Three senior citizens were golfing together, and two of them griped endlessly. "The fairways are too long," said one. "The hills are too high," said the other. "The bunkers are too deep," said the first again. Finally the third man said, "At least we’re on the right side of the grass."
Mark Lowery says this is his favorite verse of Scripture:
“And it came to pass ...” (KJV)
If it came to “pass”, it didn’t come to “stay”!
Problems purify my faith!
“... 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.”(NIV)
I love the way The Message puts it:
“You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way!”
James 1:3, 4 (The Message)
Christians are like tea bags:
You don’t know what is in them until you put them in hot water!
Our faith is developed when things do not go as planned.
Our faith is developed when we don’t feel like doing right, but we do it anyway!
A woman driver was having difficulties getting her automobile started after it had stalled in traffic. The gentleman (?) in the car behind her insisted in expressing his impatience with her by blowing his horn every few seconds. Finally, the lady, worn out by his thoughtlessness, stepped out of her automobile, walked back to the honker’s car and said, "I’m having some difficulty in getting my car started. If you’ll go and see if you can start it, I’ll honk your horn for you!"