Summary: This message explains why the Christian will face trials and what God’s desire is for the believer through the tests we face in life.

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JAMES 1:2-12 - ©DR. LARRY L. THOMPSON (2004)

INTRODUCTION: Diamond Test Illustration:

To test the genuineness of a diamond, jewelers often place it in clear water, which causes a real diamond to sparkle with special brilliance. An imitation stone, on the other hand, will have almost no sparkle at all. When the two are placed side by side, even an untrained eye can easily tell the difference…which one passes and which one fails!

In a similar way, even the world can often notice the marked differences between genuine Christians and those who merely profess their religion. Many Christians have great confidence in their faith until it is severely tested by hardships and disappointments.

Let’s go to this week’s EXTREME EXAMPLE entitled, “Pass-Fail” (Fitz will roll intro with live vignette to follow on platform)

Historically, James is writing to people who have more than their share of trials. He is writing to people who were hated by the Gentiles because they were Jews and hated by the Jews because they were Christians. James is ready to give those of us who are struggling with the trials of life an extreme makeover by following the biblical directive to turn the trial into triumph!


“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.” (1:2-4)

For your extreme makeover to be successful James tells us there are two truths that we need to know about every trial we face.


“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”

James lets us know immediately that it is not “if” we face a trial but “when” we face a trail. We will all have trails; they are predictable and certain. The first key to turning your trial in triumph is to be prepared; don’t get caught off guard…trials are going to come your way.

What types of trials will we face? Circle the words “many kinds” as this comes from the Greek word poikilos (poe –keel – os) This is where we get our word for poakadot. Simply stated, our trials will come in all shapes and sizes; some big, some small, some short and some long. While we don’t know the size of the trial we certainly know the trial is predictable.

Illustration: I remember years ago when Jennifer was sick and she lost it all over Taylor’s bed. Taylor came crying to me and said, “Why did she have to do it on my bed?” Like all of us, my daughter wasn’t ready for someone else’s trial to affect her life…but they do.


“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.”

James warns us that for the Extreme Makeover to be effective we must realize this truth about trials…they have a purpose.

There is an INITIAL purpose and an ULTIMATE purpose in every trial.

i. The initial purpose of every trial is to build in us to PERSEVERENCE.

The first lesson God desires to teach us in a trial is that of perseverance or endurance. This word is also literally translated as patience. The Greek word for perseverance means “to abide under” the pressure or in laymen’s terms, “Hang in there!” When you consider that not one trial you have faced in life is an accident but instead it has been by the design of God and His purpose is to first produce in your life “perseverance.” Here is your first question regarding your extreme spiritual makeover: “As you consider your trial today how are you doing on persevering?”

Some of you may be wondering, “Why won’t God take this trial away?” Look at verse three again: “the testing of your faith…” Why do you take a test? To evaluate your ability to master the assignment. What is your first assignment in a trial? To develop perseverance! One answer could be that you have not yet learned how to “persevere” in the trial and so the test continues until God is able to see His purpose fulfilled in your life.

So, what is being tested? YOUR FAITH? Where does your faith come from?

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 (NIV)

Faith is nothing more than taking God at His word and responding to His directive. His testing of our faith is designed to produce perseverance in our life.

Illustration: Greek word for testing is dokimion (da-key-me-on) This is a term for the potter who puts his vessel into the fire and then takes it out to inspect it to see if there is a crack. The cracked vessels were sold at a much reduced price. However, the vessel that went through the fire and did not crack the potter would write “da-key-me-on” which was a witness to all who would purchase the work, “It has been tested by fire and did not crack.” In other words, it persevered and endured the trial.

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