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Growing Christians God's Way, part 1

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(Originally posted 2/21/2017)

Faith on Trial

This week be started a new series today at GBC called Faith on Trial (James 1:1–18)! This weeks sermon was entitled “Growing Christians God’s Way Pt. 1” (James 1:1–4)

We learned there are two absolute essentials when trials come our way:

  1. You must develop the right attitude (1:2–3)

  2. You must demonstrate real submission (1:4).

Pastor Brandon taught us that James wrote this letter to encourage his beloved brethren to remain steadfast in the midst of their trials reminding them that the righteous judgment of God is coming (5:7–11). James was concerned that these Jewish Christians would fall away from the faith and return to their former lives, so he exhorted them to maintain their righteous walk in the midst of their suffering. These Christians were facing dire situations. The wealthy took advantage of them, scorning their faith, and even dragged them into court (2:6–7; 5:4–6). They faced poverty and persecution for their faith in Christ.

Their great difficulties serve as great examples to us two thousand years later. We can study James’s exhortation to them and learn how to face major difficulties as we live for Christ.

Growing Christians God’s Way

Today, we learned the first imperative in facing trials. We must develop the right attitude toward our trials. The right attitude begins with cultivating joy in the midst of our struggles. This is a settled contentment in every situation, and it starts at the level of our thought life. Trials are inevitable, but finding joy in them is a choice. James says to choose joy when we face unavoidable trials—a joy that can only come from trusting Christ with all our hearts.

James also gave the goal of continuing in our trials—that we may grow in endurance, so that we would be made fit for greater service. God sends trials into our life and gives us genuine faith which produces in us the staying power to remain steadfast through our difficulties. Our genuine faith produces in us endurance that makes us more useful to our Master. Next week, we will explore the next point: we must demonstrate a real submission.

Thoughts to chew on:

Please consider the following application questions from verses 2 & 3:

  1. Have you recently faced trials in your life?

    • What has been your response to them?

    • Have you complained? Or, have you chosen to find joy in Christ?

    • Do you understand that your reaction says much about where you stand in Christ?

    • Ask God to give you pure joy in the midst of your trials.

  2. Have you been blamed God for your difficulties?

    • Do you know that when you complain about your situation, you are blaming God who put you in your situation?

    • Ask God to help you see the purpose for your trials.

  3. Have you considered that God uses trial to produce endurance so that He can use you for greater things in the future?

    • Praise God that He has sent difficulties into your life to make you more fit for service to Him.

  4. Have you considered that you will not gain endurance if you run away from your trials?

    • In some cases, running from your trials and difficulties means running from the faith!

    • Ask God for continued faith to live the Christian life enduring trials in righteousness.

  5. Are you rejoicing when God sends trials your way knowing that He is preparing you for greater service?

    • Ask God to give you all that you need to prepare you for greater service to Him.

“No faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity. Tested faith brings experience. You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials. And you would never have known God’s strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through.” Charles Spurgeon