One of the best tests of Christian growth and maturity is trouble. When a believer goes through personal trials, they discover the kind of faith they really possess. Trials not only reveal our faith, but they also develop our character. James is written to show us that God is trying to produce in us the kind of faith that overcomes. "The trying of your faith worketh patience." Patience is enduring faith, faith with staying power. Verses 1-12 are speaking of the trials and tests that come into our lives from outside circumstances. God is trying to produce in every Christian "faith that overcomes," that endures, that has staying power. Far too many Christians fall by the wayside when temptations and trials come. God is trying to produce an inward change by allowing and even ordaining outward trials to build in us an overcoming faith. He wants us to understand that trials in the Christian life are not unique. They are for every Christian (Mt 5:10-12; 1 Pe 4:12). If you are going through trials right now, realize that God is not picking on you (1 Co 10:13). He has a purpose!
I. Trials And Testings Happen In Our Lives To Produce Real Christian Joy v2
A. It is a joy that causes us to rejoice in the midst of trials (Acts 5:40, 41, 16:23-25).
B. It is a joy that brings rejoicing because we can see through the trials. (Heb 12:2 ; 1 Pe 1:7).
C. No matter what we suffer here, we shall see heaven.
D. Trials are not meant to produce anger or bitterness.
1. A spiritually mature Christian who possesses overcoming faith will rejoice in trials.
2. Our Christian joy is produced by the Holy Spirit and is not dependent on circumstances.
3. Many Christians lose their joy when they have a flat tire, can't pay a bill, have a family argument, are made fun of at work, etc.
II. Trials And Testing Happen In Your Life To Produce In You An Enduring Faith (v 3)
A. "Knowing this" - God wants us to know that trials and testing happen in our life to produce in us an enduring faith.
B. "The trying of your faith worketh patience."
1. Patience means endurance, staying power.
2. Most Christians have no "staying power." they do not endure.
C. Through our trials God wants to increase our endurance.
1. Marathon endurance runners torture their bodies to teach themselves to endure the marathon race.
2. They teach themselves to handle the pain, the distance, the pace, the length of time, the overcoming of the need to rest.
3. God wants us to be a "long distance" Christians.
C. God is saying here, "I am working on you with a specific purpose in mind."
1. God is trying to produce in us an overcoming, long lasting, durable faith.
2. Many Christians quit when their faith is tried.
3. What if Jesus had quit because -nobody shook his hand or noticed him; nobody did things his way.
4. We are to endure the hardness as a good soldier of the cross (2 Tim 2:3).
III. Trials And Testings Happen In Your Life To Mature You As A Christian. v4
A. Trials produce patience (enduring faith) and patience produces spiritual maturity.
1. 'Perfect and entire" means mature and complete.
2. 'Wanting nothing" means lacking in nothing.
B. We cannot be a mature and complete Christian until we learn to endure trials with joy (without complaining).
C. A spiritually mature Christian has learned to lean totally upon Christ for strength (1 Peter 5:7).
D. None of us can stand alone. Note the illustration of the pen and the book.
E. Spiritual maturity is God's goal for our life.
1. If a baby remains a baby for very long, we know there is something wrong.
2. Some of believers are babes in Christ and have been for years!
3. That is not God's plan…not God's will.
4. "But let patience have her perfect work," means we must be willing to allow God to mature us.
F. How do we become a mature Christian?
1. By obedience (Mt 5:48) (act of the will)
2. By the teaching-preaching of the Word (Ep 4:12; 2 Tim 3:16, 17)
3. By the prayer and presence of others (1 Th. 3:10)
4. By the work of the Holy Spirit in us (Gal 3:3)
IV. Trials And Testings Happen In Our Life To Drive Us To Prayer (v5-8)
A. We are to pray for wisdom to understand our trials and testings
1. What is God trying to teach me? (don't waste the opportunity.)
2. Abraham, when he went through the testing of offering up Isaac, learned that the Lord was able to provide. "Jehovah-jireh"
B. God is telling us, encouraging us, to ask Him for Godly wisdom.
1. Liberally means abundantly.
2. "Wisdom is the proper use of knowledge"
C. We are to pray without doubt.
1. "Nothing wavering" means without a doubt in our minds.
2. That is how we are to pray, believing God will answer.
3. Not like a bobber on the water, floating up and down in the waves and wind.
4. Prayers prayed in doubt are not answered (v7).
D. We are not to have the instability of two minds.
1. "Unstable" means unreliable and not dependable.
2. The unstable man is uncertain in everything; what he thinks, what he feels, and what he decides.
3. We must have one mind, the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5).
(Phil 2:5) "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"
4. Our minds must be His mind.
5. That is, whatever His will is for my life, that's what I want.
6. What would Jesus think about this trial?
7. What would Jesus do about this testing?
8. The church as a whole is to be of one mind.
V. Trials And Testings Happen To Bring Equality Among The Brethren (v9-11)
A. When the poor man is tried, it brings exaltation (verse 9).
1. It is glory (1 Pe 4:13, 14).
2. Through testing the poor receive spiritual riches (Ro 11:33; Ep 3:8).
B. When the rich man is tried, it brings humiliation (v10-11).
1. Trials come to the rich to keep them humble and depending on God (1 Ti 6:17).
2. Job learned this lesson well.
3. After he learned it, God rewarded him double.
4. Sometimes God has to take our riches away to give us the true riches (Luke 16:11).
VI. Trials And Testings Happen To Bring Us Reward In Heaven (v 12)
A. We are not saved by enduring trials, but we are rewarded for enduring trials.
B. God promises us a great reward for our trials here, both now and eternally (Mk 10:28-30).
C. "Love" for God must be the motivation for enduring testing. v12 "The Lord hath promised to them that love Him".
D. There is no reward for those who do not love him, only death and destruction-hell.
God is trying to produce in us an enduring overcoming faith. We need to accept our trials; learn from them; pray for wisdom; rejoice in our trials; and thank God for them.