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James Series 01 - Grow Up

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Reading: James 1:1-8
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:3-4 (NIV)

I.   Consider it Joy?!

     A.  Is this Crazy?

           1.  Was James a masochist?

                 a.  We wonder about people who like pain

                 b.  Some Christian people seem to do that

           2.  Is this about enjoying pain?

                 a.  We wonder in reading this about that.

                 b.  It sounds sort of deep or spiritual.

                 c.  It’s really crazy.

           3.  Should we seek out pain?

                 a.  Some have, some do: ascetics, pole sitting, flagellation, bloodied knees.

                 b.  Should we go looking for trouble?

                 c.  No! James is looking past the pain.

     B.  Testing is a Spiritual Workout

           1.  A good workout means getting to the limits

                 a.  Training for a sport, or in the gym means pushing oneself to the limits.

                 b.  One builds strength and skills this way.

           2.  Sometimes growth only happens when we have our limits pushed.

                 a.  This is obviously true in athletics.

                 b.  It’s also true personally and spiritually.

           3.  Most folks don’t choose their workout!

                 a.  What James is talking about are the difficulties that come to us in life.

                 b.  Sometimes the intention isn’t our good but our destruction.

                 c.  Don’t worry, God uses that too!

     C.  This joy is Results oriented

           1.  Have you ever felt really good about a workout that made your muscles ache?

                 a.  It just feels good, doesn’t it.

           2.  This joy isn’t about the suffering but about the results of the workout.

                 a.  James tell us that when our spiritual muscles are tired and sore, look ahead!

                 b.  Everything, even testing, make us better

                 c.  Joy is possible when we see that the present points to a better future.

II.  Let perseverance finish it’s Work

     A.  Perseverance Isn’t the goal

           1.  Perseverance is what we need to get us where we need to go.

                 a.  To go some where we have to get there

                 b.  You won’t get far without endurance.

           2.  Just “sticking to it” is just the beginning.

                 a.  To last is a good start, and a good way to go, but it isn’t the destination.

                 b.  Resolve is a foundation that God builds on in our lives to deepen our faith.

           3.  You can’t grow up without it.

                 a.  People who choose to always take the easy way out don’t grow.

                 b.  Part of growing up is deciding not to run away when it gets hard.

     B.  Perseverance makes us Mature

                 a.  We can’t be broken unless we let God take us to our limits.

                 b.  Unless we are broken, we can never be make whole.

           2.  Growth is change.

                 a.  To grow is to change. No way around it.

                 b.  But not all change is growth!

                 c.  In a way the Church is always growing and so always changing.

           3.  We change when the pain of change is less than the pain of things the way they are.

                 a.  We prefer what we know.

                 b.  So God blesses us with difficulties to grow us out of our complacencies.

     C.  Perseverance makes us Whole

           1.  “Going the distance” makes us complete

           2.  Unless we face difficulties we can’t be all of who God has made us to be.

           3.  We are supposed to be complete: “not lacking anything!”

III. Don’t Waver in your faith

     A.  Ask for God’s Wisdom (v.5)

           1.  Did James change the subject?

                 a.  One minute joy in suffering the next wisdom?

                 b.  We need God’s wisdom to see past, and live beyond the apparent.

                 c.  There isn’t joy without it!

           2.  Wisdom=understanding for skillful living.

                 a.  Not being mentally clever.

                 b.  Knowing how to live a whole and satisfying life.

           3.  Ask God for the skills to live well.

                 a.  We aren’t born, or reborn with them!

                 b.  We learn them, usually by trial & error!

                 c.  God gives wisdom as we live.

     B.  God gives His wisdom Generously

           1.  God wants us to succeed at life

                 a.  He isn’t stingy or picky about who he gives his wisdom to!

                 b.  He doesn’t fault us for needing wisdom!

                 c.  But He gives it when we ask Him for it.

           2.  God gives us wisdom for living.

                 a.  Notice the present progressive.

                 b.  He is the “giving God.”

                 c.  He gives us His wisdom in His Word, through His people, to our hearts.

           3.  God’s generosity is bigger than our need.

                 a.  There is no difficulty bigger than God.

                 b.  No confusion bigger than His wisdom.

                 c.  God gives us all we need.

     C.  Wavering faith equals an Unstable life

           1.  Not faith that God will answer it my way

                 a.  That’s egocentric prayer.

                 b.  It’s faith in God, not in our assessment of what we need, that is the key.

                 c.  God always answers our prayer out of His love–trust that!

           2.  Trust God completely to give generously

                 a.  Ask without wavering in your trust.

                 b.  Know He will give all you need.

           3.  Vacillating: double-minded and unstable.

                 a.  A wavering faith is not faith

                 b.  Sometimes being “open minded” just means too much can leak out!

                 c.  To be whole to be stable we must trust God completely.

The Bottom Line:

Welcome Difficulties as God’s Blessing to make us Whole.

R#603 God Moves in a Mysterious Way (vv.2, 4)

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