(The following is an outline of the message preached by Michael Larsen on September 6, 2020.)
Last time we looked at James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
In this passage God gives us 4 reminders about problems in your life.
1. Problems are inevitable.
2. Problems are variable.
3. Problems are unpredictable.
4. Problems are purposeful.
We also looked at 3 benefits.
1. Problems test our faith and make it stronger.
2. Problems develop our endurance.
3. Problems mature our character so we have no weak spots.
So today I want to talk about how we should respond to the problems of our life from James 1:5-8: 5
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Well, again James is very specific, and he gives us 5 very practical responses.
1. The first response he says is when you're going through tough times, rejoice.
James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”
We don't rejoice for the problem, we rejoice in the problem because we know there's a purpose for it. And because we know that God will never leave us. Consider means to deliberately make up your mind. You adjust your perspective and your attitude. It’s your choice to rejoice. Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise will always be on my lips.” It’s a choice of the will.
2. The second response we should have is we should ask ask God for wisdom.
James 1:5: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
3. The third thing James says to do is trust God to know what’s best.
James 1:6-8: But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
4. The fourth thing you should do when you’re going through problems is to remember that all things come to an end.
James 1:9-11: Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they 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 will fade away even while they go about their business.
This continues James’ description of what it looks like for a believer to trust God.
Verses 9 through 11 offer an important teaching on the question of Christian perspective. In verse 9, James wrote that those who truly trust the Father can boast about their exalted position, even if they are very poor in this life. The lowliest Christian believer is eternal royalty with endless riches through their faith in Jesus. For those who truly believe God poverty or wealth on this side of eternity is far less important. Christians who make temporary wealth their highest priority demonstrate they are not trusting God.
5. The fifth thing you should do when you’re going through problems is to ask God for the faith to endure to the end.
This comes from James 1:12: Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. God has promised to those who love him that they will be blessed if they endure and persevere through a trial like the one the world has been facing. Blessed is the person who trusts God and who keeps believing under trial, because when they have stood the test, and reached the end—and there will be an end—you will receive the crown of life.