Title: TESTED AND TRIUMPHANT
Text: James 1:1-4
There must be something in us that makes us run from trials and tests, because I don’t know very many people who welcome them. Most of us can see the benefit from them after the trial is over, and indeed we have learned something, but not many of us can welcome it as a friend. But the truth of the matter is that we learn things from trials that we learn no where else. So if we will not enroll ourselves in the school of tribulation, God signs us up for certain courses depending on the depth of our spiritual walk. If we are shallow, guess what…He may enroll us full-time. If we growing and submissive to the leading of His Spirit, we may see an occasional night class or two. But one thing we can count on, God wants to prepare us for graduation.
Rather than put up defenses that keep us from choosing the path of least resistance, I encourage you to be open to whatever “course” the Holy Spirit sees fit to enroll you in. As we will see in our text tonight, there’s some very rewarding fruit that comes from school of hard knocks (trials and tests). Read Text.
1. As we saw last week, James is the half-brother of Jesus that was at first a scoffer who turned into a believer. John 7:1-5; Gal. 2:9 Because of James’ unbelieving past, what do you find interesting about his self-imposed title in Ja. 1:1? (Slave of God implies God owns him; calling Jesus “Lord” shows a tremendous change of heart/belief towards Jesus.)
2. When you call yourself a slave of God, what comes with the territory? (It implies absolute obedience, humility and loyalty.)
3. Who does James address his letter to? What does that mere fact incline you to expect to follow in this letter? As your family scatters across the country, what do you do to maintain your bonds of unity and love?
4. Whenever you find yourself stranded from your sources of support, what have you found you can rely upon to keep you strong in the Lord?
5. Paraphrase verse 2 in your own words. (Welcome adversity as a friend.) Notice the same attitude in 1 Pet. 4:12-13.
6. What kind of spirit or mind-set is needed before a Christian can count trials as a joy?
7. What are the benefits of being able to count trials as a joy?
8. What are the positive benefits of trials? (Ja. 1:3-4)
9. List some other words for “endurance.” (Steadfastness, sticktuitiveness, unswerving constancy, patience.)
Insight: Endurance is the quality in a child of God that not only helps them suffer through trials, but it is the strength to bear still more and to conquer even harder battles.
10. James says endurance has a “perfect result.” What could possibly be the insured payoff of endurance?
Insight: “Perfect result” in Greek means “sterling coinage” – money that has no alloys, but is genuine silver. Therefore the aim of the testing of our faith is… (To purge us of all impurity.)
11. The “perfect result” that James says is the result of trials points to a beautify work that God is definitely involved with in each of our lives. Look for the “perfect result” in each of these passages: Phil. 1:6; 1 Cor. 1:6-8; Col. 1:21-23; 1 Thes. 5:23-24; Jude 1:24-25
12. What could be some wrong attitudes to have when being tested?
What has been the greatest trial or test you have had to endure so far? How would you say you measured up?
During that trial, did you experience an unusual strength to get through it?
What would it take for you to be ready to face the next trial with joy?