Faithlife
Faithlife

James 1:1-4 Trusting in Trial

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+++ Know what happened this week? Bleach! “Nat says” check your shirt....shouldn’t have said anything. Then I grab my shorts out of the laundry…wrecked! Top 3 shorts. Done.
Anyone faced the trials of laundry errors?
HOOK
Lewis
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  - C.S Lewis
Pains, trials, challenges - they cause us to reflect.
Trust is revealed in trials isn’t it? Have you found this? When a relationship is under fire, how much you trust that person and why is revealed.
This is a big question when it comes to God. How can I trust a God when I see and experience suffering? On the flipside, if we don’t face trials then when do we don’t know the extent of our trust. And trust is at the center of knowing God.
Kara Tibbets
“Before cancer, I would have said I was on the journey of seeking grace, but in truth I was manufacturing my own faith. If I found a need, I did my best to meet it. My going, doing, loving was my faith, not my nearness to Jesus. In my mind I knew my efforts weren’t the substance of my faith, but my practice betrayed me. Stripped of my ability, I saw Jesus in a new and profound way.”
- Kara Tibbets (blogger & mom who died of cancer)
When have you faced trials? Have you found that when you are faithful to God - trials still come?
Have your trials and pain caused you to run to God or from him? To his community or from his community?
All of us have faced or will face trials, obstacles, suffering, rejection. In fact, if you decide to follow Jesus - we are told to not be surprised when trials come (1 Pet. 4:12)
Today we start our series on James and James talks of trials. What is our perspective supposed to be when we follow Jesus and end up facing trials?
Open Bibles to (page 1011).
James
WHICH JAMES?
There are a few important James in the NT
Which James?
James, the Son of Zebedee - Apostle in Jesus’ inner circle (Mk. 1:19).
James, the Son of Alphaeus - Apostle (Mt. 10:3).
James, the brother of Jesus, Jerusalem church leader (;
What We Know About James, The Lord’s Brother
Seems he didn’t become a Christian () until after Jesus’ death + resurrection. (Jesus hands Mary over to John, not his bro’s ()
+++ Second chances & grace.
“James the Just.”
Became primary leader of Jerusalem church (after Peter)
“Pillar” (). Some of us may called to be “pillars”?
Eventually he was martyred and refused to deny Christ.
Eventually he was martyred and refused to deny Christ.
“Servant”
didn’t leverage being Jesus’ sibling. Though obviously that had an impact on his influence.
“of God & the Lord Jesus Christ”
servant of God was normal title throughout history for the people of God. Moses was a servant of God. But here, we see an early example of how Jesus is viewed as God. James serves God the Father & God the Son.
Much has changed since he saw Jesus as merely his brother.
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion
“dispersion” is a term referred to the Jews that are scattered. Exiles in OT, persecution in NT.
Could be referring primarily to the Jews who have become Christians or “twelve tribes” could be metaphorical referring to all of God’s people.
James write out of a Jewish context, aware of Israel’s story. Israel has been scattered and waited for rescue, for victory, and for the 12 tribes to be restored and established again. Jesus came, appoints 12 apostles, and is forming a new covenant people, centered on him. He is fulfilling, in a new way, Israel’s hope. But it isn’t just for Jews. Everyone is invited to join the covenant people of God.
Walk through these verses but let’s get one thing in view.
(ESV)
4 “And let steadfastness have its full effect,
(All) that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
“perfect” or “mature.” The goal is spiritual maturity. Keep that in mind as we continue.
Big Idea: Trials can purify Trust.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
“Count” = act of faith. ,. Faith works…everyday. Everyday we have the opportunity to workout our faith and everyday we can discover that faith really works.
To count it joy one must trust God, and have a bigger perspective.
“brothers” family language for 1C, applies to “brothers and sisters”
“trials of various kinds.” Broad reference but in the letter we see James has certain things in mind: specifically, economic injustice and oppression as well as religious persecution. Trials is a word used in scripture to refer to external and internal challenges/temptations.
Following Jesus will lead to trials. We can make our own trials, but this is referring to trials that come as we follow Jesus.
“What trials are you facing?”
Count it Joy? Apostles who are beaten - leave rejoicing because they got to align w/ Jesus in suffering.
1 Peter 6:7
1 Peter 1:6–7 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(ESV)
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
James explains why we can count it joy in the next 2 verses.
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
we can have joy because we recognize that God is using trials to purify our trust, faith.
our faith is refined under fire, under trials, and what remains will grow/produce steadfastness/perseverance.
Count it #1 - Our steadfastness will grow and this is a reason to count it joy.
If we give up, then perseverance is not produced.
+++ Streak of giving up when I didn’t win…insecurity. But then perseverance never grows.
REMEMBER: we rush to individualistic application. First, James is not a self-help guru trying to inspire us to never give up on our dreams. He is talking to the people of God, calling them to follow Jesus, knowing that following Jesus leads to trials. About following Jesus not our dreams. Second, it is “we’ not “me.” He writes to the “brothers and sisters” and as a community they are to persevere.
+++ Is it ever hard to persevere with a community? Ever get offended? Ever find someone else in the church family annoying or different? Trials will come against our church and we, together, must count it joy, recognizing that in this, God is growing our steadfastness.
“Steadfastness” / perseverance / endurance - the word has the idea of “remaining under” “bearing patiently.” Steadfastness grows, meaning we grow in trusting during trial and our faith is strengthened while we remain under fire.
Steadfastness is not about escaping the trial but enduring it.
We pray for God to change our circumstances but here God tells us to “count it joy.” Why? Because God is doing something. We can often be focused on using God to change our circumstances while God is focused on using our circumstances to change us!
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Count it joy #1 steadfastness is being produced as we trust during trial.
Count it joy #2 we are being matured/made perfect. //// Graphic of trial leading to maturity.
let steadfastness have its full effect
We have to, personally and together, remain under, continue in our steadfastness, continue trusting so that the effect occurs.
+++ Working out. You rip muscles and if you work them, then they grow. But if you give up, if you don’t sweat, then the effect, the growth never occurs.
Faith works…everyday. Faith is active, and must be worked. If trials never occur then our trust doesn’t grow. Our muscles will shrink - they need to be worked out.
We have to count it joy, we have to remain steadfast… for the effect to occur. We can’t give up, we have to keep pursuing Jesus, keep serving Jesus, keep trusting Jesus, keep uniting around Jesus, keep forgiving.
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Trials can purify Trust //// God will use our circumstances to mature us.
Challenge #1 Comfort
(ESV)
If our goal is personal comfort then we are going to miss this.
We will get mad at God when he doesn't give us what we want, what we think we deserve. We will give up on church, let our hearts grow cold before Jesus because of discouragement or pain.
When we step out in boldness and we are rejected. When we share Jesus and the person ignores us. We go “I’m not going to do that again.”
We want to tap-out but God wants us to “trust-in.”
We get confused because we think God’s goal is to give us comfort. But God’s goal, we see here, is to mature us! /// We want God to give us heaven now…while God is trying to prepare us for heaven on earth to come.
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Challenge #2 Isolation
We can tend to isolate when trials come.
We want strength more than steadfastness. We want to escape our circumstances rather than endure our circumstances. We want to emerge victorious over our weakness but God gives victory amidst our weakness.
When we are weak, then God’s strength is made evident. /// so in our weakness, we are made strong. /// we can choose to trust during trials… and stick together /// we don’t have to show up strong, we just need to show up and not give up.
ACTION
How am I allowing trials to deter me from steps of wholehearted devotion to Jesus?
What can I do or who can I talk to this week?
CONCLUSION
James writes to various communities of Jesus-followers who face trials. He calls them to count it joy because their steadfast will grow and their maturity is being processed.
We are a little community, we as individuals and as a family will face trials as we follow Jesus. Trust is purified in trials. Trust-in don’t tap out.
JESUS
James writes this practical letter that is jam-packed with Jesus-centered instruction and yet he doesn’t mention Jesus constantly. But let us reflect on Jesus as we close.
We can’t always know “why” when trials come.
We pray for healing and it doesn’t come. Why? /// We pray for family or friends to come to know Jesus and conversations of faith don’t lead to breakthrough for closed doors it seems. Why? /// We obey with tithing and generosity and make wise decisions but it seems like we can’t get a break. Why? //// We love someone and end up getting rejected. We serve faithfully and don’t see results. We feel dry spiritually. We face injustice at work, with family, with friends…why?
We are called to trust. Trials purify our trust.
We don’t always know the reasons why? But we do know the reasons why not. It is NOT because God lacks care or goodness or power.
We are called to trust. Trials purify our trust.
But
God has proved this on the cross.
On the cross, he proved his love. Jesus took the ultimate trial in our place so that we can receive the ultimate rescue. Jesus rose from the dead revealing God’s power. He defeated sin, satan, and death!
We may not know the reasons why, but we know it is not because God lacks love and it is not because God lacks power.
Trials purify Trust.
Trust is not abstract or wishful thinking. We aren’t trusting in a tomorrow being better, or things turning around. We are trusting in God the son, Jesus, Our Saviour… who did not “count” equality w/ God a thing to be grasped but humbled himself, humbled himself to the point of death - taking the death we deserve.
We trust in Jesus.
(ESV)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
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