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There Is Something More Important Than Comfort

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What Do We Do Now  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:50
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There Is Something More Important Than Comfort

Today we will continue looking at the practical teachings of what to do now that we are in some challenging times.And as I was praying and thinking about all of this and the problems of money, hospital problems, grocery and petrol queuesIt made me start to think, could you imagine if you lived somewhere that you didn’t have to worry about money, or where you didn’t ever have pain from relationship or people problems, where you didn’t have to worry about paying for medication in USD not because you couldn’t get them but because you never got sick.Imagine a place where people didn’t die and so there was no grief, imagine a place where there was no war, suffering, draught or death. And best of all imagine a place where there were no POLITICS and where the leader loved and served the people.Can you imagine that place?Well actually that place will and does exist. It’s called heaven.Today at the close of the service we will sing a song called I Can Only Imagine, actually I wont sing or I will ruin it.But we will sing that song because we should think about that place.The reason why is we are all on a journey to get there.And isn’t it nice to think about that?It really is. However then we have to come back to reality.Although that is where our journey takes us we MUST KNOW and realize that we still live in a messed up world.A world where there is selfish people, where there is disease, where there is corruption, where people fight and where people, where there is death and where businesses and even countries can go bankrupt.And although some will fantasize that if you are a strong believer then you can be insulated from all of that it’s just not truth.So today that is what we will look at.What do we do now? Since we still live on this earth and have heaven as the destination what do we do in the mean time.Today’s take home is to learn a huge lesson: There Is Something More Important Than Comfort We will learn what that is.We will learn this lesson by looking at something from the book of James.
James 1:2–4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:12 ESV
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
What a strange way to start a letter.Count it all joy when you meet trials.I mean who says that? Has this person lost their mind?Well let me remind you who said this and helps us get some perspective.This was written by James the half brother of Jesus.So if anyone had an in with God James would be the guy.Plus he was the leader of the early church, which means if you ever get the idea that once you reach a certain level you never have problems or that God isolates you from them, this should clear it up.So let’s see what he is teaching us because it is valuable.First of all this does not say that you are to enjoy trouble.Meaning that whatever problem you are facing right now due to the current problems then you should just say, “I am having so much fun waiting in the queues, I am enjoying paying too much for cooking oil, I just love having to find USD to buy my medication.”That is not what this says or means.James point is that we will see there is something more important than your comfort and that is your faith.The reason it is more important than your comfort is because it is the very thing that gets you to the finish line so that you will have comfort for eternity not just for this present life.What we will learn is that it can show us what we might need to make sure we endure to the end.Let’s look at some of the great word pictures we have here.The first one is where we are told: V2
James 1:2 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
Here is the picture. While we are on this journey called life it really is going to a destination.What James is telling us is that while we are on this journey we will meet various trials. Meaning we will have some difficulties that will come in lots of different ways and from different places.What he wants us to hear is that while we are just going on walking down this life don’t think it is all going to be easy going.It’s not going to be heaven on earth.What he is saying is that you will meet some hardships.He is not saying to go looking for them they will come all on their own.Like what we are all going through right now.We all have various hardships that we are facing.So what do we do.First of all don’t freak out. Is that an ok church word?Don’t think something strange is happening to you, or that you have done something wrong no it’s normal.Second this trouble you are going through just know it’s not a punishment and most likely you have done nothing wrong to deserve this.What we are to do is when they come recognize what it is.I like the word he used, they meet you.For me I kind of get the picture that recognize it and introduce yourself.If Ndebele just say salibonani trial. I see you. I know what you are.See we don’t let it break us we great it.See it’s here no matter what so lets not let it take us off the journey.This is where James came up with his teaching is let these trials test or teach us something.It’s because there is something more important than your comfort and that is your faith.Verse
James 1:3 ESV
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
This is part of the great lesson. James considered trials a joy because they helped him learn and strengthen his faith.First of all he said the test produces steadfastness.That word is not just endurance it is a little different.The word has to do with holding your ground.This is something the Bible teaches all over the place.In Ephesians we are taught by Paul to put on the whole armor of God so that we can stand firm. Hold your ground. In Corinthians, 2 Thes, Philipians we are told to stand firm and hold your ground, Peter taught it and even in Hebrews. About 14 times in NT taught this.What the point is here is while on this journey we will meet difficulties, they are not to break us.They are not to take us off course. They are not to make us go backwards but when they come HOLD YOUR GROUND.As we learned last week in Timothy, God has given us the power to do this. We can hold our ground. We don’t need to break or give up.And each time we hold our ground we get stronger and endure better.That is what is taught here.So right now whatever you are going through because of these challenging times meet them, it’s part of the journey, don’t think you are being punished, or that God enjoys putting you through this it’s just what happens because we are NOT IN HEAVEN YET, we are on the way.But there is something else we can learn here.
James 1:4 ESV
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
This is probably the part that we miss.See the first part is just what we need to know.This is what we need to do.The standing and holding our ground is supposed to teach us something.What it is to show us is how is our faith?It is to show us are you growing? Are you strong? Do you have some weak areas that need some work?For instance back in 2008 I stopped working in the company that I owned.All of a sudden I had no job and a whole lot of bills.I had cars, a couple houses, a boat, an American wife (cost a lot to keep that going), a daughter in college so a lot of bills.When this happened the pressure was horrible.Of course I questioned why on earth would God allow this?Why didn’t God intervene and help?All the same questions.All this was, was a testing of my faith.It all happened because we weren’t in Heaven yet where people are fair and nice to each other.While this was going on I realized I had some weak spots in my faith.I had some real anger issues that came up. I also learned that I really had some love for money.These were actually things that could have got me to go off course.To get sidetracked on the journey.So what James is talking about here happened.My faith was put to the test and I saw I needed some help.If I didn’t deal with them I could have gone backwards.Let me tell you I prayed and prayed hard & I dealt with some of these.I probably didn’t deal with them all the best all the time.But I learned. I grew and I got stronger and have moved forward on the journey.That is what James is trying to tell us. We need to let these hard times teach about our faith.Do you have some weak spots that are surfacing right now that need God’s help.Invite Him to do the work.See I know I grew because I have been put in the same tests again and not had the same trouble.Now it’s been easier to trust because I saw God pull us through the last time.This is James point. This testing is more important than your comfort because of how it shows you what you lack, it matures you and makes you stronger if you let it.If you have his attitude that this is not some horrible thing that is happening, not some real injustice but is just part of the normal journey of life.And helps your faith grow stronger.James would knew about this and became a real pillar. So strong that he endured to the end.Let me tell you how his life ended.
Eventually, the enemies of the gospel took James in AD 62 to the pinnacle of the temple and said, “There are too many people becoming Christians.” This is what the historians tell us. “Too many people becoming Christians, so I want you to say not to turn to Christ.” I don’t know what in the world they thought he was going to do. “Tell the people to turn away from Jesus.” We’re told James looked out and called down and said, “Why do you ask me about the Son of Man? He dwells in heaven at the right hand of the Mighty Power. He will come in clouds of heaven.”
In anger, they threw him off. He fell to the ground, but he wasn’t dead yet. Beaten and broken, he twisted to his knees and began to pray for the forgiveness of his enemies. At that point they came down and stoned him and beat him over the head with a fuller’s bat until he was dead. This is the one who says, “Consider it joy …” He was ready.
That’s the goal. He was steadfast. He stood strong. He didn’t fight back he went forward. That is dramatic and an ultimate test. But each little trial, each little test, each little hardship made him stronger along the way.You know I’m sure he didn’t do well in all of them just like you won’t either.That’s why I love
Proverbs 24:16 ESV
for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
In our testing there will be times we fall. That’s ok. Just learn from it, see where you need help, then get back up and keep going.Because the goal is worth it.That’s where we close with
James 1:12 ESV
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
One day your journey here will end. It could be through death or maybe from Jesus’ Second Coming.When we endure to the end we have a reward waiting for us.We have heaven where we will never be tested again.There will never be another hardship, never be another death, never be another fight with someone, never any more tearsJust paradise that no beyond our imagination.
1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
A lot of trials will try and get you to stop loving Jesus.We can’t let that happen.The reward is too great. It takes faith and love to make it.A little discomfort now to help us get there is of far more value.
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