Opening up the Book of James

James   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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a short look at God's purpose in trials

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3 Steps to understanding trials

It is the firm belief of James that suffering was not meaningless. It was actually God’s way of bringing us to spiritual maturity.
vs. 3-4 read: Knowing that the testing of your FAITH produces steadfastness. ( amplified says: the proving of our faith brings out endurance and steadfastness and patience) And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Jesus followers have the opportunity to grow up under testing.
Q: What is your first response when you encounter a trial or test?
Q: What are 3 things James tells us to do when we encounter trials?
The first thing we should do when we encounter trials of any-kind is PRAY.
vs. 5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
“First, a word about wisdom. What is it? We must not confuse it with knowledge. Knowledge is information; wisdom is application. Knowledge is comprehending facts; wisdom is handling life. Knowledge is theoretical; wisdom is practical.”
We may have lots of biblical knowledge about testing or trials but lack the basic wisdom needed to navigate the tests. Wisdom is knowledge applied.
Q: Have you found it easier to discuss bible truth than to apply it?
If we are going to have wisdom in the trial we need to pray. Not just to get out of the trial, which is a normal prayer, but also to ask God for wisdom in the trial.
The second thing needed is Faith when we pray.
vs. 6-8 “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man unstable in all his ways.”
Like a cork in the sea is the man who asks God for wisdom but doesn’t apply it. His life is up and down all the time. Lacking the faith to take the steps toward application he is stuck.
Q: What were the tests that these people were facing and are they much different than ours?
Historical context: “They had been dispersed because of their faith and nationality. The Roman Government had little tolerance for Jewish people. They lost their homes, land and income. There were those Jews who were nationalists who believed the answer was to unite and physically remove Roman presence from Israel. The Zealots were ready to fight.”
The 3rd thing needed is a willingness to apply God’s wisdom to our situation and a trust in God for the outcome.
vs. 12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God promised to those who love Him.”
If we are tempted toward wrong doing during the test we need to recognize the origin of the problem.
When we are tested God will never entice us toward disobedience to scripture. The devil may suggest it but, the movement toward it comes from within us. God is never at fault for our sin. We are.
When we choose to obey Gods word in the midst of trial we make ourselves a candidate for Gods grace to come to us in the midst of the trial.
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