1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. 12 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.
James 1:1-12 ESV
I. The Writer, Reader, and Reminder of the Letter (1)
A. The writer is James, the late blooming brother of Jesus.
B. The readers are Jewish Christians scattered all over the world due to persecution who now feel isolated.
C. The reminder is to not forget that a faith that is worthwhile is a faith that works.
II. Rejoicing In Trials
A. We are not called to enjoy trials but to endure them with joy.
B. To count it all joy is a decision we make to consciously choose joy even when feeling just awful would be justifiable.
R. Kent Hughes…”We are to thoughtfully find joy in our own diaspora experiences – when we feel alienated, disenfranchised, unpopular, even when difficulty and tragedy come our way that have no apparent connection with our Christianity.”
C. The best way to handle trials is to be prepared for them to come, because it is a matter of when, not if trials will come.
III. The Reward of Trials (3-12)
A. The reason we can rejoice in the middle of trials is we know the rewards trials will bring.
B. They make us tougher and more tenacious. (v3)
C. They make us more mature and more like Jesus. (v4)
D. They make us wiser. (V5)
E. They make us surer than ever of the faithfulness & goodness of God. (v6-7)
F. They make us stable, able to stand, and sure footed. (v8)
G. Trials assure us of and authenticate our salvation. (9-12)
- Embrace the paradox of being poor keeping people with the proper perspective and being a sign of God’s pleasure.
- Be like the oyster and seize the opportunity in trials.
- For the joy set before us we press on knowing that for the joy set before Him Jesus persevered for us. (Hebrews 12:1-4)
Next Week: The Truth about Temptation James 1:13-18