Summary: It is one of the toughest questions a believer can ask: "How do I find joy in trials?" The only answer is in the words of our great God
Passage: James 1:1-8
Intro: In terms of trouble in this life, it’s not a question of if, but when.
1. each one of us can tell story after story of trouble, great and small
PP Car accident pictures
Il) funny insurance stories
2. not everyone gets rich, not everyone gets famous, but everyone has trouble to some degree.
3. but in a world where a sovereign God exists, it’s more than “bad luck”
4. and for the believer, God promises that He is at work in all our trials.
5. to each of us, God is making statements in this passage.
6. our choice is whether to believe them or not.
7. I have experienced myself and seen others grow thru trials because they took God at His word., when He said...
I. “I’m Doing Something Incredible”
1. James is writing to people who knew something about trouble.
2. “12 tribes scattered…” are clearly Jewish believers after persecution caused them to be scattered outside Judea.
3. driven from homes, extended family, lands, jobs.
4. and to these suffering people James writes, “consider it pure joy…”
5. the verb tense James uses indicates every time a trial comes, they should have this mindset of joy.
6. a couple things: first, “joy” is deep inner contentment, not happiness.
7. as soon as we begin to define the Christian life in terms of happiness, we are headed for trouble.
8. second, “consider” means to “count it in such a way.” Accounting term.
Il) accounting uses “debits and credits” Money in, money out.
9. so James says, “put trials in the credit side of the ledger.” Make up your mind to do so. Why??
10. v3, because God is doing something amazing in these trials.
11. God is “testing”, but that is not an evaluation word.
12. it is word that focuses on the strengthening nature of trials, the process of using trials to build something that was not there before.
Il) wrestling practice was always much harder than the matches. Running stairs, climbing rope, practicing moves over and over. If you could survive the practices, the matches were nothing.
13. God is building “perseverance”, more than just patience.
14. it is the quality that enables a person to stand and face the storm.
15. and that quality is required in a believer, because God has an even greater goal.
16. v4, goal is maturity, wholeness, without lack in Christian character.
17. in other words, like Jesus Christ.
18. God is using trials to grow us, but we don’t always understand.
19. trials make us cry, want to give up.
Il) we want to get off of God’s anvil when He turns up the heat and the hammer begins to fall with great regularity. What holds us there?
II. “I Have What You Need”
1. v5 seems to be a kind of jump, but James has used a clever device to tie them together.
2. “lacking nothing” in v4, same word in v5 “if you lack”…
3. if we look at this command and struggle with the “how”, the answer is simple
4. God will supply the critical component, which is “wisdom”
5. simply put, “wisdom” is God’s perspective on any matter.
6. He gives it willingly, generously, without criticism, without fault-finding.
7. He knows we need it, and is pleased when a person comes to Him for it.
8. how do we know that God is willing to give wisdom to us?
9. because He gave it to us without being asked, in His word and in His Son, and in His Holy Spirit.
10. God has poured wisdom out without measure.
11. we pray for it, and God supplies it.
12. several ways: primarily through His word.
13. also through the wonderful example of Christ, through godly friends, through the work of the Holy Spirit.
14. God puts a different spin on suffering, the spiritual instead of the physical, the eternal instead of the temporary.
15. that perfect wisdom, that eternal perspective is available without cost.
Pray for it when trouble comes.
16. because there is, of course, another type of wisdom that is available as well.
III. “Trust In Me Completely”
1. James presents our choice in a very unusual way.
2. vv6-8, gives two options, belief and doubt.
3. the belief is clearly in God, because God is who we are to seek wisdom from.
4. so when we ask, we must do so with faith in the character of the One we are asking.
5. specifically, we believe in Him on His terms, as He has presented Himself.
6. the other option is to doubt God, to wonder if there isn’t another person or idea that is at least as good and maybe better.