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.
YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING!
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.
Trials are not Easily Understood
5If any of you lacks wisdom
God Wants us to Understand
let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him
We must Take the Initiative for Understanding
We must Ask God
We must Ask in Faith
(Faith is trusting God to do what He
says He will do)
APPLICATION OF THE TRIALS OF LIFE (1:9-11)
9Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
Everyone Has Trials
It is natural for each of us to think that we have the greatest problems. Many a poor man has said, "If I had the money that rich man had then I would not have any problems." And many a rich man has said, "If I were poor again I would not be faced with such a hectic lifestyle." Everyone has problems whether rich or poor, sick or well. Certain trials simply come with the territory. But each can learn and grow through their trials no matter what their state.
Everyone Can Rejoice in His Trials
Poor Man can glory in his exaltation
Rich Man can glory in his humility