Faithlife Sermons

Trials: Keeping it in Perspective

James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 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.

As Neil shared last Sunday, when we experience trials, we respond in different ways.
We often will respond in ways that make us feel secure:
Attempt to ignore them and hope they will go away
Focus on tasks that we can control rather than focusing on the massive trial we cannot
Withdraw into isolation
Surround ourselves with people and noise
Everyone handles things differently, yet all of us are searching for the same things: security and peace from the storm we are facing.
Sometimes trials are the best things that happen in our lives. Maybe your trial this morning is your biggest gift - it causes us to reach a place where we desperately need God and depend upon Him. In this temporary life, there is nothing greater that we can achieve than this.

We must recognize that our trials do not determine our identity

Poor and Broken - Self-Pity

In humble circumstances, our identity is in Christ and we should find hope.
Ex: Reach a point in life and begin seeing missed goals and benchmarks and have a mid-life crisis.

Rich and Successful - Self-Promotion

As rich going through trials, take pride in them trusting in God.
Illustrations -
What defines us is not what we go through, but who our Father is. Some people have pride and others are diminished because of circumstances. In all, we must learn to focus on and depend on God recognizing our identity in Him
Ex: Pride because your kids turned out good and you begin looking down your nose at other families. All of us are one choice away from destroying our lives. Our children are one choice away. We need God, not just pride in our parenting strategies.

Trials are Indiscriminate to All

When trials occur, all differences go away other than the reality that we are struggling together.
Example: 9/11 unity - Democrats and Republicans, various ethnicities, rich and poor all became Americans together because of the shared pain and focus for healing
Verses on identity in Christ:
Ephesians 1:5 NIV
he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—
John 1:12 NIV
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
Romans 8:16–17 NIV
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
2 Corinthians 1:21–22 NIV
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

We must measure our trials in light of eternity

How does this trial measure in light of spending an eternity with Christ?
Light bills
Test for students
When in trials how often do we jump on Facebook instead of going to God. We compare with everyone else and feeling insignificant or proud. Comparisons with others is always bad rather than recognizing our identity in Christ.
Ecclesiastes 1:1–11 NIV
The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.
We often lose sight of the purpose and meaning of life as we allow the temporary to cloud the eternal. Everything we build apart from God will fade away.

As we attempt to find solutions to our storm and explore solutions that we can control, we often want an explanation from God in our storm.

Illustration: Miscarriage, questioning God and remembering His own sacrificing. He isn’t abstract. He has also experienced pain.

If we will adjust our sight from things that we can control to placing our life under His control, we will receive a revelation of God in our storm

How can I embrace my identity in Christ through the trial:

Remember that all will fade away. Everything is temporary. The purpose of it all is to discover God and develop a relationship with Him.
Spend time discovering him through His story and time talking to Him
With the support of your small group, share the areas you struggle in getting your identity from and encourage one another weekly to maintain focus on Him being praised versus living life for self-promotion or in self-pity because of false identity in temporary things
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