The Jeopardy category might be /famous phrases.
/See if you can complete this line:
/If you can’t stand the heat…./
/ …stay out of the oven…hop in the pool…bump down the thermostat...take a chill pill.../
/ /None of those quite fit the bill, do they?
You know the old saying really goes /if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
/Anybody know who said it?
President Harry S. Truman.
He didn’t have a lot of patience with fearful folks.
Truman had plenty of hot moments during his presidency, and for the most part, it seems like he handled the heat pretty well.
What about you?
How do you handle the heat?
How do you deal with fiery trials and troubles?
How do you handle the heat when you /can’t /get out of the kitchen?
How you handle trouble is a good indication of how mature you really are.
Mature people know how to handle the heat.
James begins his epistle outlining how a spiritually mature person faces trouble.
He shows us in *James 1:2-18* how you and I can learn to handle the heat.
Begin reading in *vs.
One of the first things to do when you face trouble is to :
*1) **Remember the heat is good for you.
I’ve heard it said the world can be divided into two types—hot natured people, and cold-natured people.
I always get them mixed up, but whichever one of them hates being hot is my home team.
I can sleep quite soundly when I’m cold, but I can’t sleep a wink when it’s too warm.
I might wish for warmer weather during winter, but I /never/ wish for /hot /weather.
Yet it comes anyway, because God knows what He’s doing when He sends summer.
He also knows what He’s doing when He turns up the heat in our lives.
That’s why James says in *vs.
2* /count it all joy when you fall into various trials…/ / /I wonder if any of the people who first read these words, who were undergoing severe persecution, asked /James, you’ve got to be kidding!
How can I be happy about my suffering?
I don’t believe James is telling us to be happy when the heat is on.
I think he is saying /don’t let the heat steal your joy.
/Don’t let trouble plummet you into depression.
You /can/ keep a smile on your face and a song in your heart /even when the heat is on/.
How? /By remembering God uses the heat to strengthen your soul.
The word /patience=endurance; perseverance= the ability to keep on keeping on no matter what else is going on./
This is a sure path to maturity (/that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.)
The only way for you and I to grow stronger is by turning up the heat.
Most teachers know this is true, even if the students aren’t willing to admit it.
It’s only when the heat is turned by up that test that the student learns the lesson, and holds on to the information.
Imagine a school without grades or report cards.
No heat would mean no learning.
Most athletes know the only way they grow stronger is to constantly test their skills and abilities through the heat of practice or competition.
No heat, no victory.
It is through testing we grow stronger, more mature, able to /do/ more and /become/ more than we are right now.
That’s why we can keep our smile when the heat goes up—/because we know God will use it not against us, but for us.
*2 Co 4:17* /For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,/
The story is told of a fire that destroyed 2,500 homes in 1991 in California.
When a man and his daughter came back and sifted through the debris where their home once stood, they found almost everything reduced to ashes—everything but a tiny porcelain rabbit.
They couldn’t believe something so fragile had survived intact.
They later showed a neighbor the figurine, and he asked “Do you know why this [survived the fire]?
Because it has already passed through the fire.”
Fiery trials may be very painful, but it is only through the blazing furnace our faith grows purer and stronger.[i]
/ /James says that spiritually mature people keep their smile even when they feel the heat because they know it’s good for them.
Another important way to handle the heat is
*2) **Ask for wisdom to handle the heat.
When the heat is on, it’s very easy to do something foolish.
Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull.
Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence.
The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it.
Terrified, the one shouted to the other, "Put up a prayer, John.
We’re in for it!"
John answered, "I can’t.
I’ve never made a public prayer in my life."
"But you must!" implored his companion.
"The bull is catching up to us." "All right," panted John, "I’ll say the only prayer I know: ’O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.’"
You need wisdom to handle the heat—not just the best you can come up with, but wisdom
from God. James says when things get hot, all the wisdom of heaven is available to you for the asking.
He says God gives His wisdom /liberally and without reproach= freely, without scolding.
/When you need to know which way to go, or what choice is the right choice, James urges us to /ask God because He is eager to help you.
But when you ask, he writes, you have to /ask in faith, with no doubting/.
You ask God, trusting Him to give you wisdom, and He gives you wisdom, only if you trust Him enough to heed His wisdom.
God doesn’t give wisdom to those looking for options—He gives wisdom only to those committed to putting His wisdom into practice.
Everybody else is like /a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind…double-minded, unstable in all their ways…/They may ask for wisdom, but they will never get it from God, because they really don’t trust Him.
When the heat goes up, and trouble comes, you need wisdom from God. It’s yours for the asking only if you trust God before you ask.
Plenty of people have made a mess in the heat because they never received God’s wisdom.
A third important way to handle the heat is to
*3) **Let the heat clarify your perspective.
When everything is cool, it’s easy to lose your perspective.
You can count your blessings
and think /I’ve got it made.
/It gets more complicated when the heat is on, and you begin to think
/if only I had more, this trouble wouldn’t be so bad.
The truth is /more/ won’t always help you handle the heat.
In fact, /more/ can actually hinder you.
James reminds us in *vs.
9* /Let the lower brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation…/
/ /Notice he’s talking about Christians here—he calls both of them /brother.
The /lower brother /is the believer who struggles to make ends meet, maybe even the brother who barely survives.
He is to /glory=to be proud~/to be glad in his exaltation…/The world calls him poor, but heaven calls him rich.
He can be glad that the wealth he possesses in heaven cannot be touched by trouble or trial.
On the other hand, the /rich /brother should /glory…in his humiliation…/He should be glad he doesn’t have to rely on his earthly riches, which disappear like the morning mist.
He can be glad his true riches are also in heaven.
Jesus puts it this way in
*Mt 6:19-20* /19“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.