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The Importance of Endurance

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James 1:2-18

 

            It might appear that James was the sort of preacher that never smiled, one that saw very little in life to cause joy.  Considering the times in which he lived, it is perhaps easy to understand his preoccupation with trial, for to be a Christian meant alienation from all men.  James had come to understand the practical application of Christianity and would settle for nothing less in the lives of his brethren.  Paraphrasing James here, “you can talk about your faith, I will demonstrate mine!”

            It may appear that James is encouraging the saints to be happy with their adversity but this is not the case and to believe so is to pervert James’ words.  James understood that a true servant for Christ could only result from great stress.  Just as a lump of coal might become a rare and valuable diamond, or a chunk of ore may produce a precious once of gold, so may a Christian become a powerful and pure vessel when properly fired.  The process is often hard and painful so that Christians are encouraged to uplift one another through prayer and other means of support.  James addressed his brethren, offering advice drawn from personal experience.  His purpose was to enable believers to both mature in the faith and survive the inevitable persecution that would result from their faithfulness.

 

I.                   The Point At Which We Are Confronted

 

A.    Even our faith

1.      This is the trait that most infuriates Satan and the world

a.       Enables us to live apart

b.      Keeps our hopes alive and our attitudes positive

2.      If our faith be cut, we are like a boat without a rudder

a.       Faith allows us to access God’s power – light switch analogy

b.      We must believe God can and will do all that He says

c.       A Christian without faith is no better than a bald Samson

B.     The means Satan employs to try our faith – divers temptations

1.      These are very real

a.       God will lead no man to do evil

b.      Danger must be present or the test is not genuine

2.      Is there any good thing that comes easy?

a.       Our route lies against the current

b.      Any bit of flotsam may ride the tide

3.      Each test is different

a.       For the proud it is the loss of face

b.      For the rich it may mean loss of comfort

c.       It may come without warning or at a time of perceived strength

 

II.                James Speaks Of the Blessing Of Endurance

 

A.    Don’t be glad of the pain but of what the pain reveals

1.      We crave the end result of testing and not the test itself

2.      We should peer ahead to see what lies beyond the test but if we cannot see - trust God to do what is in your best interests

B.     Don’t stop short of patience

1.      Some get nearly all the way to their goal only to quit just before reaching it

2.      Stopping short guarantees only disappointment

C.    Other benefits of endurance

1.      Proves our sincerity

2.      Tests our resolve

3.      Proves God’s promises

4.      Spiritual maturity – equips us for every other trial

 

When we have endured every testing, it will be revealed that the faithful can indeed find joy in any situation.  There is no temptation that can offer fulfillment.  Sin promises the world and leads on a wild goose chase.  God is our all in all!

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