Summary: take a new look at difficulty
What do you look for in circumstances? What do you see?
Text: James 1:2-4
1. There are some situations that are life changing:
Marriage, birth of a baby, graduation from school
Car wreck, rejection by someone, being made fun of
2. We rarely, if ever give second thought to their impact, simply accepting it as a part of life and moving on.
3. However, we are the product of our experiences, choices and environment, so it is important for us to consider how we look at circumstances in our lives.
I. FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES.
A. Some Biblical undeniables:
1. God loves us: Jn. 3:16, I Jn. 4:8-10
2. As a part of that love, God will never leave us & he can’t lie—
Heb. 13:5, Mt. 28:20, Titus 1:-12
3. Also as an expression of that love, he acts on our behalf, for
our best spiritually: Rom. 3:21-26, Heb. 2:14-16, 4:14-16;
Rom. 8:28, Rom. 8:1-4; God’s plan has been and is a
spiritually focused plan
B. Every situation we encounter will have at least one or both of:
1. opportunity—for good or bad—and we often choose.
2. challenge/obstacle of some kind.
II. STORIES—SOME KNOWN SOME LESS KNOWN.
A. II Kings 6 Elisha
The king of Aram/Syria was at war with Israel and raided all the time. Elisha would send word to the king where the Syrian ambushes were going to be and thus thwarted Syria. The Syrian king became enraged, thinking he had a traitor, but was told it was Elisha in Israel. The King promptly went after him &surrounded the city. They awoke, the servant feared for his life. Elisha said: God open his eyes.
Blind them army. He led them to the King of Israel, told him to feed them and send them home. Syria quit bothering Israel
B. David and Bathsheba—David was king, Uriah was in the way…
C. Ananias and Saphira—wanted to impress, but lied about it.
D. The Prophet Micaiah—I Kings 22, tell the story
E. In every story there are multiple choices made, each depending on the perspective of the characters.
A. James 1:2-5
1. trials, various/many kinds—do not have to be big earth
shaking situations, more often than not, simple every day,
2. notice James links the faith with these trials, which include
physical situations, but all affect the mind, heart and soul
3. NLT “when troubles come your way, consider it an
opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith
is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it
grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will
be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
B. His equation is: mature faith=me + tests x endurance
C. God’s goal for us is mature faith, growth into the likeness of his
son, so as to enjoy fellowship with him in the spiritual realm of
his existence, we call heaven.
1. Eph. 4:24, 5:1,8
2. I Pet. 1:6-7
3. that is precisely what he came to do: Eph. 1-3
D. how we respond to these tests and trials indicates how mature
our faith is.
1. James says: count it joy
2. Paul says: rejoice in our suffering. Rom. 5:2
3. Peter says: I Pet. 4:12-16
E. Song “tis so sweet to trust in Jesus” note the lyrics
F. 3 key questions:
1. What do you believe is happening?
2. What do you believe will be the outcome?
3. how does this affect your sense of self?
G. Your sense of self is directly proportionate to your strength of
belief in God
1. weak level of belief will render a more self-centered view of
the trial with an outcome you don’t like because it isn’t what
2. strong level of belief in God will render a more God centered
view—regardless of the outcome.
(I’m not saying that everything that happens is the will of
3. I refer to the perspective Paul believes: God works for the
good in all things, for those who love him… Rom. 8:28
4. out of his love for us,
a) God works for our spiritual best—for the development of
our faith, and
b) for the overall accomplishment of his will in our lives in
the bigger context of life, completing his ultimate spiritual
H. Notice Paul’s view of trials:
1. II Cor. 4:7-12; 16-18
2. II Cor. 6:3-10
3. II Cor. 11:16-12:10
1. What do you look for in trials?
a. what’s in it for me?
b. God remaking, reshaping your heart, soul and mind in
accordance with his will?