Promises and Provisions for Trials

Bible Book: James  1 : 4-8
Subject: Trials; Problems; Blessings, Trusting God
Introduction

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

Often times, God allows us to go through things we don’t understand. It seems to be in this context that we often begin to pray for patience or wisdom. God gives us those things by providing situations so we can learn. We develop patience as we stand, bear up, and endure certain situations. We gain wisdom as we find ourselves in positions we don’t understand.

In the book of James, the writer gives us the prescription before the problem. Throughout the five chapters James will note an array of problems such as impatience in difficulties (my wife said there was a flower named after me), members who talk one thing and walk another, some who could not control their tongues, catering to the rich, etc. All of these problems seemed to have the same roots: spiritual immaturity. James is in hopes of leading us to become mature, balanced, and grown-up. Too many churches are playpens for babies instead of workshops for adults.

James reminds us that real blessings come not from simply studying the Word, but in doing the Word. Unless we are willing to obey, the Lord is not obligated to teach us.

John 7:17:  “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”

I. REASONS FOR TRIALS 4

1 Peter 1:6: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,”

Psalms 119:67

“Before I was afflicted I went astray,

But now I keep Your word.”

Psalms 119:71

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted,

That I may learn Your statutes.”

A. Commences With Cooperation 4a

“let” –let it keep on having; don’t give up, God is still working on you. Let the test run its course.

In order for trials to accomplish God’s intent in our lives, we must choose to cooperate with the process.

EXAMPLE: This man was burdened to grow in his patience. He knew he was immature in that area of his life, and he wanted to grow up. He sincerely prayed, “Lord , help me to grow in patience. I want to have more self-control in this area of my life.” That morning, he missed his train to work and spent the next 50 minutes pacing the platform and complaining of his situation. As the next train to the city arrived, the man realized how stupid he had been. “The Lord gave me nearly an hour to grow in my patience, and all I did was practice my impatience!”

Romans 5:3: “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”

God wants a complete, mature believer.

B. Climaxes With Completion 4b

“perfect” – does not mean sinless, but reaching the end for which it is created. Carry on the work to the end or completion; this is the goal of patience; perfected at the end of the task.

“entire” – soundness in all of the person’s life.

“lacking” – no defect or inadequacy.

Testings, trials, and troubles are God’s pruning shears, His purging fire, His carpenter’s bench in order to make us what we need to be.

If His reason for trials becomes a reality in my life, I will rejoice in my trials, knowing that God’s promises were true.

James 1:1-4 gives 3 reasons I should rejoice in my trials:

1. Trials Purify Faith

Proves faith is genuine.

Mark 4:5-6: “Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away.”

Mark 4:16-17: “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble.”

2. Trials Produce Patience

Steadfastness

3. Trials Perfect Character

Make mature, whole, no defects.

II. RESOURCES FOR TRIALS 5-8

In the Christian life, God doesn’t give you a map, He gives you a guide, the Holy Spirit, and as you surrender to Him, then He gives you the wisdom of knowing how and and when to apply what God says in His word.

Note The Resources: WISDOM, PRAYER, FAITH

A. KNOWING (Wisdom) 5a

THREE QUESTIONS:

1. WHAT?

“wisdom” – wisdom is not merely information or knowledge, but knowledge applied to life. Defined as the endowment of heart and mind which is needed for the righteous conduct of life. It is the practical use of God-given knowledge.

Proverbs 4:5-13

“Get wisdom! Get understanding!

Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

“Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;

Love her, and she will keep you.

“Wisdom is the principal thing;

Therefore get wisdom.

And in all your getting, get understanding.

Exalt her, and she will promote you;

She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.

She will place on your head an ornament of grace;

A crown of glory she will deliver to you."

Hear, my son, and receive my sayings,

And the years of your life will be many.

I have taught you in the way of wisdom;

I have led you in right paths.

When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,

And when you run, you will not stumble.

Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;

Keep her, for she is your life.”

The wisdom James speaks of is not merely information, or simply education, nor indeed is it training. It is the ability to judge and evaluate sorrow and joy from God’s perspective; comfort and pain; understanding wealth and poverty on a divine level.

If we strictly look from man’s perspective, we will not respond in a godly way to the pressures that these bring.

2. When?

“lack” – deficient in wisdom; a banking term for being short of money. We have the resources of an infinite God at our disposal.

3. Why?

So we may see God’s purpose in the trial. I have no control over what life throws at me, but I do have control over how I respond to what life throws at me. Wisdom allows us to not waste the opportunities to grow and the wisdom to make right responses.

THREE WORDS CONCERNING THESE 3 QUESTIONS:

1. Timing: When?
2. Maturing: Why? What can I learn?
3. Choosing: What am I to do?

Don’t look for short-cuts

B. ASKING (Prayer) 5b

Present active imperative-continuous asking; command.

Matthew 7:7-8: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Asking is prayer. God is the Banker whose wisdom never gives out. He requires no other security than the name of Jesus. That name gives us full credit at the Bank of Heaven.

1. The Simplicity In Which He Gives

“liberally” – generously, graciously, freely, simply, unconditionally without bargaining. Means frankness and open-heartedness.

2. The Spirit In Which He Gives

“upbraideth not” – without reproaching; not rebuking; does not defame us. He does not give and then criticize us. We can ask without any fear that He will insult us.

3. The Security In Which We Get It

“it shall be given him” – God is a giver. This truth applies not only to wisdom, but all good gifts (1:17, 4:6).

C. BELIEVING (Faith) 6-8

God tells us what to ask for (wisdom) and how to ask (in faith).

1. Confidence 6a

Belief and trust that God will hear and answer the prayer according to His will.

Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

“I have nothing to prove but Someone to please.”

2. Conciet 6b

“nothing wavering” – not doubting; to judge between, be at variance with yourself and doubting. It pictures a mind divided.

POINT: Don’t be half-way committed to trusting God. No plan B.

Don’t think that you can trust Him in this trial alone when you are not about to trust Him in other areas of your life.

a. Instablity

“like a wave of the sea” – like the surge of the sea; resembles the restless. The doubter is as a cork floating on the wave.

b. Uncertainty

“driven by the wind and tossed:” – any uncertain person who believes one moment and doubts the next.

3. Clarity 7

No expectancy; do not let such a man imagine. This kind of person insults the Giver of whom he asks. Doubt of the promise of God’s Word locks the door to Heaven’s blessings.

It pictures a man who is not willing to trust God’s advice.

4. Confused 8

“double-minded” – two-souled man, a person with 2 minds (faith-doubt),

(God-world).

John Bunyan’s “Mr. Facing-Both-Ways” Divided allegiance

Not single-hearted

“unstable in all his ways” – uncertain about everything he does; undecided in every step he takes. He is vacillating, shifting from one thing to another in all he does. He is fickle and unsteady.

CONCLUSION

God’s wisdom will lead us to consistency and constancy.{