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Turning Trials Into Triumphs

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Text - James 1.2-12

James 1:2–12 NASB95
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James’ Argument
A Christian can grow and mature even during trials.
Our Main Question
How does a Christian mature in the midst of trials?
How can we turn trials into triumphs?
What is a trial
Grk. peirasmos
the act of examining something closely (as for mistakes)
an examination with the express purpose of finding a fault in the examinee
A trial is something that is given to a Christian so that he or she will fall and commit sin, or fail to fulfil his or her commitment to obey God’s word.

How to Triumph in Trials

James gives us for “imperatives” or words of admonition:

Consider/Count - a Joyful Attitude

James 1:2 NASB95
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
Count/Consider - from Grk. hegeomai, to reckon; to regard
Expect trials to come to your life.
John 16:33 NASB95
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Acts 14:22 NASB95
strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
Quote:
“we are God’s scattered people, not God’s “sheltered people”.
1 Peter 4:12 NASB95
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
Face your trials with a joyful attitude
Quote:
Outlook determines outcome. Attitude determines action.
If you face your trial with a joyful attitude, you find that things aren’t as hard as you thought they were.
Our values determine our evaluation of things.
Quote:
If we value comfort more than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to “count it all joy”. If we live only for the present and forget the future, then trials will make us bitter, not better.

Know - an Understanding Mind

James 1:3 NASB95
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Faith is always tested.
It is not us that is being tested, but our faith.
Trials work for us, not against.
God has made a way for us so that the trials will work for our benefits.
1 Peter 1:7 NASB95
so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Romans 8:28 NASB95
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Trials bring out the patience in our faith.
God wants to make us patient because it is the key to every other blessing.
Hebrews 6:12 NASB95
so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 10:36 NASB95
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

Let - a Surrendered Will

James 1:4 NASB95
And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
God cannot build our character without our cooperation.
Resisting God’s will and work does not help us.
God’s goal for our lives is maturity.
Romans 8:28–29 NASB95
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
conformed to the Image of Christ
Ephesians 4:13 NASB95
until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Ask - a Believing Heart

James 1:5 NASB95
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
In the midst of your trials, ask God for wisdom.
Trials can become confusing, discouraging, even humiliating.
Wisdom from God can help us properly evaluate the situations.

Attitudes that Lead to Victory

What attitudes must a Christian possess in order to triumph in trials?

Ask in faith

James 1:6–8 NASB95
But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Don’t just ask. Ask in faith.
Doubt will destabilize your standing in Christ.

Glory/Rejoice in your circumstances

James 1:9–11 NASB95
But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
Trials have a way of making us all equal before God.
Trials make the poor glory in his exaltation.
Trials make the rich humble in his humiliation.

Persevere under trial

James 1:12 NASB95
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
persevere - to face and withstand the trial with courage
Perseverance is the courage to continue or stay the course and resist the temptation to do otherwise.
to faithfully observe God’s commandments
to devotedly commit oneself to reading and prayer
to abide in the house of God
Perseverance is rewarded with the crown of life.
the crown of life is eternal life with God.
the crown of life can be experienced and enjoyed now in this life while we wait for the Lord’s return.
Perseverance under trial is to be motivated by love.
Eternal life is given to those who live God.
We should persevere because we love God.
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