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Testing and Persevering (James 1:2-12)

Sermon on 8 January 2023 by Ps Gaius

Introduction

Everything that the Lord gives is good. But what about difficulties? God does not give difficulty, but He allows it to happen so that we learn and grow. The book of James has many good things for us to learn and apply to our lives.

Message

As a servant of God, there will be times of trial.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, - James 1:2

What are trials of many kinds? Trials can come from stress from work, school, struggling with anger, comparisons with others, or even phone addiction, amongst others.

James tells us to “consider it” pure joy. It does not mean that we celebrate the trial, but that we perceive it as a joyful event. In the example of Joseph who was thrown into prison, he did not blame God as he went through difficulties, but he continued to trust in God. In the example of Daniel who was thrown into the lion’s den, he also continued to trust God, and the Lord delivered him. Silas and Paul, when imprisoned, did not murmur against God but continued to praise Him.

because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. – James 1:3

We go through difficulties so that our faith can be stronger.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; - Romans 5:3

When we have no resources to deal with our sufferings, we come to God and depend on Him. But how can we do better? We can come to God even before the suffering.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:4-6

When we ask God for things, it should be with the right intention. We should not be asking for wisdom so that we can be better than our friends, but that we may do His will.

That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. - James 1:7-8

When we ask for things, do not expect to receive it immediately. Continue to have strong faith that God will provide in His time. The time spent waiting for it will build up your faith. Perseverance builds character (Romans 5:4). God is looking at our character.

perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:4

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.– James 1:9-11

Let us not be affected by what the world (society) thinks of us, because we have hope in Him. We have hope because of God’s great love. Whatever difficulty we go through will bring us closer to Him.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – Romans 5:5

Closing

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

It is not a curse or unlucky event that we go through trials, because we have His love. Let us continue to love God as He loves us. Let us continue to encourage one another.

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