Summary: 8th in a sermons series on James dealing with the principles related to enduring trials.
“The Way of Endurance”
Today, Christians all around the world suffer unspeakable suffering because of their faith in and commitment to Jesus. Many suffer death because of their refusal to renounce their faith in Jesus. Although persecution of our Christian faith grows by the day in America, we have yet to experience the level of persecution occurring in nearly 75% of our world. People raised in an indulgent, comfort-driven, self-centered culture resist denying any pleasure and find it difficult to sustain endurance. Every culture encounters hardship at every level. Every culture encounters hardships that challenge faith. James’ letter offers instruction and insight regarding the things that challenge faith. His instruction helps test the true nature of our claim to truly trust God. His letter jars us out of self-denial regarding reality of our level trust. When Jesus admonished His disciples about the state of their faith it usually came in conjunction with some test. James opened his letter with instruction concerning how true faith responds to trial.
I. Faith’s response to trials 1:2-18
A. Consider it all Joy knowing trials produce endurance.
B. Continue enduring knowing endurance produces maturity
C. Confidently ask God for wisdom knowing He will give it.
D. Focus on spiritual riches because material wealth is temporary
E. God rewards endurance 1:12
Blessed is a man who endures trial; for having been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
James provided incentive to endure by looking to the reward for passing the test. God rewards (blesses) the one who endures testing or trials. God promises the crown of life to those who pass the test (get approved) by enduring all the way through the trial. There is no reward for partial endurance.
You have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:36
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoicing in hope, enduring in tribulation, continuing in prayer. Romans 12:11-12
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11
God promises to reward endurance. The word “endure” means to “remain under”.
Definition of endurance.
Faith produced endurance is the decision to continue pursuing and doing what we know is right before God (God’s will), despite my feelings, or fatigue and despite any impulse to escape, grumble, or crumble under the test.
Endurance is the ability to respond to life’s challenges as Christ would respond. Trials are those actions of people or events of life that produce physical, psychological, spiritual discomfort, pain and/or pressure in my life.
It can be negative external circumstances
It could be negative internal mental and emotional struggles
It could be difficult relational conflicts.
I believe the reward for enduring trials is increased quality of life.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:7-9
You can’t live any way you want and expect to reap the benefits of living according to God’s standard.
If you endure testing and temptation you experience new dimensions of life.
If you succumb to testing and temptation you experience weakness and death.
The life of an enduring Christian shines like a victory crown to those observing.
Paul realized life even out of devastating circumstances.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:6-12
How do we develop endurance? In some ways, it is like physical endurance training. It requires intentional practice over time. Such physical training develops muscle memory that results in auto responses. Enduring spiritual trials develops spiritual muscle memory. Endurance brings stability, maturity, contentment.