Theme: How to respond to trials that will either make us or break us.
God never intended for us or made provision for us to stop in our spiritual growth. God’s purpose for us is that we grow and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ in our daily lives to reflect more of Him and less of us. Sometimes we become complacent in our spiritual growth. We feel that we have reached a place in our walk with God that we no longer have a need to grow or go any deeper in our walk with God. God will allow adversity to come into our lives to move us forward in our walk with Him and cause us to grow. How we respond to our trials will either make us or break us. If we will submit ourselves to God during times of adversity we will discover something about our God and ourselves.
Lessons Learned About God
God has a purpose for every trial that comes into your life. Nothing happens to you without God’s approval or purpose. God has the power to work things out to your good. Regardless of the circumstances you are facing God can make all things work to your good and to your benefit. God’s perspective is not the same as yours. God sees the purpose and outcome of your trial. All you and I see is the pain and the problem. God sees the future while all you and I see is the present. God’s promises His presence in the time of your trial. God will never leave you nor forsake you.
Lessons Learned About Ourselves
We will discover what our view of God really is. We will discover what our weaknesses and our strengths are. We will discover what our priorities really are. God’s command or my comfort. God is going to have a people that have been tried and proven. God is going to have a people who have learned to grow through adversity God is going to have a people that are willing to change in order to become more like Jesus in their lives. God tests us to bring out the best in us. Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us.
In this lesson we are going to learn some facts of life we must learn to accept if we are going to learn to grow through adversity.
FACT #1 – THE REALITY OF TRIAL
James 1:2, “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations.”
Problems are inevitable. James did not say “if you encounter problems consider it joy.” –but “when you encounter problems.” You can count on it. You are going to have problems. If you don’t have problems – check your pulse to see if you are alive. Problems are a way of life. Count on them. They are not an elective in life. They are a required course. Nobody is immune.
1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” Don’t’ be surprised by your trials. They are coming.We seldom anticipate the problems we’re going to experience in life. We don’t plan to have a flat tire or a crisis. They’re unplanned and unpredictable when we least expect them.
Problems are unpredictable. James says, “when you fall into troubles.” The word “fall” literally means to fall into unexpectedly. It’s the same word used of the Good Samaritan when he fell among the thieves – unexpectedly. They’re unplanned and unpredictable when we least expect them.Problems come in all shapes and sizes. One thing with problems, you don’t get bored with them. There are a wide variety of them. Have you ever tried to match paint? The word in the Greek for “many kinds” is literally multi-colored. There are problems of many shades and varieties. They vary in intensity. They vary in variety and they vary in duration. Some are minor inconveniences and some are major crisis. They come in more than 31 flavors. Some are custom made and you know it.
FACT #2 – THE REASON FOR OUR TRIALS
James 1:3-4, “Knowing this that they trying of your faith worketh patience – but let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing. Our trails have purpose. It has value in life.”
- Pain can be productive
- Pressure can produce
- Pressure can produce
- Suffering can accomplish something
James said “knowing this.” Isn’t it good to know that the adversity that you are facing, the problems that you are encountering, have a purpose? You are not going through whatever you’re going through for no reason. No! In those troubles God is at work doing something in you – with you and for you.
Problems have three purposes in your life.
1. Problems purify your faith. James uses the words “trying and testing” He uses a word to describe the process of purifying and testing gold. You would heat the gold very hot until the impurities – the dross – were burned off. Job said, “He has tested me through the refining fire and I have come out as pure as gold.” The first thing trials do is test our faith. They purify us. Christians are a lot like tea bags. You don’t know what’s inside of them until you drop them in hot water and then you know.
2. Problems produce perseverance in our lives. “The trying of your faith produces patience.” Another way of saying this is, “the testing of your faith produces perseverance.’ James is talking about staying power or endurance.
· The ability to keep on keeping on.
· The ability to hang in there.
· The ability to stay under pressure.
· The ability to stay until the purpose is accomplished.
3. Problems help us mature. They help us to grow to become more mature. Trials produce perseverance that helps us to be mature and complete – not lacking anything. That’s God’s long range goal. His ultimate purpose is maturity. God wants you to grow up. There are two ways God makes us to become like Jesus:
(1) through the Word of God which builds our character and matures us
(2) through the circumstances of life.
Here’s where James hits it right on the head. So many Christians say, “Everything was going great when I first got saved and then all these problems came.” They think maybe God doesn’t love them or maybe they’re really not saved. The truth is – they are exactly where God wants them. They are in the process of growing. He’s making them to be more like Jesus.
FACT #3 – THE RESPONSE TO TRIALS
Our response to our trials determines the outcome of our trials. Our trials either make us or break us. It’s a matter of how we respond.
1. Respond with Joy
James 1:2, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations…” That’s not the normal way we respond to adversity. Often times our first response is to get angry and question why me, Lord. James said “count” The word count is an accounting word that means to evaluate.
· Accountants add up numbers to make the balance sheets come out right.
· Sometimes our trials don’t add up from our stand point or our perspective. They just don’t add up or they just don’t make sense.
We can count it all joy when we know that God is doing something wonderful in our lives – something positive or something that will bring honor and glory to Jesus while at the same time make us more like Jesus Christ.
2. Respond with Prayer
James 1:5-6, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed
How do we handle trials? Ask for wisdom to handle the trial. Ask God for help and understanding. You need to say, “God, I know there’s something good in this for me. Help me to see your plan and your hand in this adversity. Show me how to respond so that I can get the best from this.”
I Cor. 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. You are not by yourself.” There are other people in the Body of Christ that have experienced what you are experiencing. They have seen God bring them through.
You may feel that God has allowed more to come on you than you can handle, but that is not true. God will always supply you with the grace that is needed to overcome all your trials. The wisdom God wants to give you is the wisdom or ability to properly apply and use the knowledge you have to correctly handle your trials and adversity.
Remember this: A good teacher only tests students on the information that has already been taught. The teacher also wants the student’s to pass the test. So, if you are going through a trial, God has already supplied you with the information needed to pass the test. God wants to pass you to the next level of spiritual maturity.
Ask in faith. We must believe that when we ask God for help and wisdom He will give it to us. He will give generously and liberally.
FACT #4 THE REWARD OF THE TRIAL
James 1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.”
God says there will be a reward. I don’t think when we get to heaven the rewards will go just to the pastor, the evangelists or the men like Billy Grahams. The rewards will go to the people who quietly put up with difficult situations that helped develop the character of Jesus Christ in their life. Jesus said they’ll receive a crown of life. When the trial is finished and the purpose is accomplished, then there is God’s reward. God not only wants you to receive the reward, but He also wants you to love Him more.
- Will you learn to grow through your adversity?
- Will your adversity drive you closer to God?
- Will your adversity drive you away from God?
- Trials are a part of life.
- Trials have a purpose in life.
- Trials will provoke a response.
- Trials will bring forth their reward.