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Summary: James’readers must have been amazed when he told them to count it all joy when they fall into trials. James was not kidding and explained how trials can be a friend and not a foe.

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YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING!

James 1:2-11

There are times in life when you hear something that sounds so outlandish that your first remark is "You have to be kidding!" You think that what the person is telling you has to be a joke or a lie, but certainly not the truth. This had to be the thoughts of many of James’ readers when he told them to "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials." Seriously, how can you be happy when you are in the midst of a storm? If James had stopped with that statement then certainly a person would have a reason to doubt its validity, but he supported his with solid explanation.

OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THE TRIALS OF LIFE (1:2-4)

2My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

"trial" (pierasmos: an external trial proving one’s fidelity, integrity, virtue or constancy; an internal temptation)

Trials are a Definite Part of Life

"when you fall"

Trails Come in All Varieties

Different in their Source

some trials you make for yourself,

others are from outside circumstances

Different in their Severity

Trials Can Be A Blessing In Disquise

a. Trials are used by God to Test our Faith

***Circumstances do ot make you what

you are...they reveal what you are!

b. Trials are used as God’s Refining Fire

to remove the Dross

In 1993, Charles Colson received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. The $1 million prize is the largest prize for achievement in any field. It is kept higher than the Nobel prizes in such fields as science and literature in the belief that religion is more important. Colson served seven months in prison for obstructing justice in the Watergate cover-up and was known as the scandal’s "hatchet-man." His conversion later led to the founding of Prison Fellowship in 1976. In response to this award, Colson said, "Out of tragedy and adversity come great blessings. I shudder to think of what I would have been is I had not gone to prison." Adversity can be God’s refining fire. In Other Words, p15

c. Trials are used to Develop our Potential

*** Trials will make us better if

we do not allow them to make us bitter

Last Sunday the Tampa Bay Bucs lost to the world champion Green Bay Packers. The lost must have hurt the coaches and players badly, but they understand this is part of the maturing process of any championship team just as Green Bay experience a few years ago. They must experience the hurt of losing play-off games to strengthen themselves to not allow it to happen again.

d. Trials are used to Bring us to Maturity

"perfect" (teleios: finished, brought

to an end, mature), end of a process

"complete" (holokleros: complete in all

its parts, without blemish/fault)

UNDERSTANDING FOR THE TRIALS OF LIFE (1:5-8)

5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.


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