Sunday, Oct 28, 2018PM Service
Treasuring Spiritual Maturity in Trials
Speaker: Matt Waymeyer
Passage: James 1:2-4
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Tonight’s passage is James 1:2-4. The norm of this life is adversity. Everyday circumstances arise that we do not like and we did not plan. They break-up the harmony of life. They bring some degree of pain, displeasure, inconvenience, and sometimes deep heartache. What is your plan when responding to the next difficult life circumstance? Most people don’t have a plan. God has a plan. There is a way that He desires for us to respond to various trials. The Greek word translated in James 1:2 as “trials” describes an external affliction to test one’s faith.

In this passage, James gives us three Biblical responses to the trials and afflictions of life in a fallen world.

  1. Consider it all joy (James 1:2).
    • Consider is a verb of thought, not a verb of emotion.
    • The command is not, feel this way; instead it is, think this way.
    • How are we to think? We appraise the situation and consider it not a reason to complain, but an opportunity to rejoice.
    • We have an attitude that welcomes trials as a friend to be cherished.
    • We must not be slaves to our circumstances.
  2. Cling to what you know (James 1:3).
    • What do we know?  It tells us right here to know that trials produce endurance.
    • We regard the trial based on what it produces, instead of how it feels.
    • Heart question: Do we treasure spiritual endurance more than our comfort or convenience?
    • Our faith is tested for genuineness. Trials purify, refine, and strengthen our faith.
    • Our faith is strengthened in the promises of God, not the temporal situation.
    • And it produces endurance!  Endurance is the ability to bear up in the face of difficulty. Spiritual faithfulness and steadfastness grow over the long haul.
    • Without adversity in life, the spiritual muscle of faith will not mature.
    • God is producing far more in us than the comfort we desire.
    • How does one do this practically?
      • When trails come, we must slow things down, and consider/think about God’s purposes in the affliction.
      • Cling in the faith to the Biblical truth that the trials in this life are designed by God.
      • He designs them to strengthen and purify your faith.
      • Which in turn, produces the ability to persevere and remain steadfast.
      • Which in turn gives you reason to rejoice!
      • Why? Because the endurance it produces takes precedence over how it feels in the moment.
  3. Capitalize on the opportunity (James 1:4).
    • The process in which the testing of your faith leads to spiritual maturity is not automatic or guaranteed, if we are passive and just wait for it to happen.
    • You must actively capitalize on the opportunity to mature spiritually in the trial.
    • Let endurance have its perfect result (this is a command for activity).
    • For endurance’s full effect, it is not the number of trials, but the way we exercise our faith muscle in the trials.
    • The final goal is listed in verse 4 as “perfect” (spiritually mature), “complete” and “lacking in nothing” (the comprehensiveness of that spiritual maturity).
    • James provides a four-link chain in his flow of thought:
      • Trials,
      • strengthen your faith,
      • which produces spiritual endurance,
      • which then produces spiritual maturity.
    • He is saying, “Let endurance have its perfect result.” In essence, “Don’t break the chain.”
      • Don’t fail to capitalize on what God is producing through the trial.
      • Don’t get so bent out of shape by the trial that spiritual growth is the furthest thing from your mind.
    • This is similar to Hebrews 12, make sure you are being trained by the trials that God brings into your life.
      • God brings the trials.
      • We are responsible to let the trials have their perfect result in us.
    • How are we to let endurance have its perfect result?
      • Repent of grumbling against God’s providence and repent from the idolatries of our heart for comfort and an easier way.
      • Spend time in God’s Word and be transformed by the renewing of your mind in Biblical Truth.
      • Bring your heart before the Lord in humble submission crying out to Him in prayer to strengthen your faith and focus your heart.

The critical issue is to have the faith to see trials as the means that God uses to produce spiritual maturity, and the heart to treasure spiritual maturity more than the absence of affliction.