When The Going Gets Tough

Title: When The Going Gets Tough

Bible Book: James 1 : 1-12

Author: Jackie Kay

Subject: Trials; Trouble; Hardships



The primary concern of James is not creed, but conduct; not belief, but behavior; not doctrine, but deeds. He addresses how a believer responds "when the going gets tough". When the going gets tough believers should have...

I. The Proper Attitude Toward Trials

Verses 2-4

A. The Association Confirmed

"My brethren..."

Paul identifies with their suffering. He was not an "armchair quarterback". He was sharing out of the testimony of his own victories.

B. The Attitude Commanded

"Count it all joy...", vs. 2.

This aorist infinitive conveys a sense of urgency. It is extremely important that we make up our mind to face the trials of like in faith and with an attitude of joy, i.e., a settled peace, confidence, and delight in the Lord.

C. The Application Considered

Verse 2, "When you fall into divers temptations (trials)," i.e., multifaceted trials, unexpected hardships of all kinds. Christians face trials of every nature. We are not immune from suffering, tests, and difficulties.

D. The Affirmation Conveyed

Verses 3-4, "Knowing this..." Abiding, staying true, remaining faithful under pressure, i.e., as a weight-lifter, produces strength for steadfast endurance. There is no way to know the quality of something without testing it.

"Perfect"; mature, as contrasted to babes in Christ. "Entire"; Complete , acceptable for sacrifice. "Lacking in nothing"; Victorious

II. A Prayerful Acknowledgement Amid Trials

Verses 5-7

A. The Requirement For Wisdom

"Since you lack wisdom..."

It is OK to ask God "why?" or "what should I do?" The first thing we must do is acknowledge our need of Him. This prayerful acknowledgement must make...

B. A Request For Wisdom

"Let him ask of God...", v.5.

This is a present tense imperative, i.e., a command, not a suggestion. When the going gets tough don’t try to go it alone. When you ask for help prepare for...

C. The Response Of God

"Who giveth to all men liberally..."

God wants to give you wisdom and strength in your trials. He will not "fuss at you" ("and upbraideth not") for asking. "Just when I need Him most, Jesus is there to comfort and cheer, just when I need Him most".

D. The Responsibility Of Man

"But let him ask in faith..." This is the wholehearted attitude of a full and unquestioned committal to and a dependence on God.

III. The Positive Aspects Of Enduring Trials

Verses 8-12.

A. Trials Produce A Balanced Life

Verse 9-11

Those who waver with every trial are unstable in all their ways. A balanced life keeps an eternal perspective. "A tent or a cottage, why should I care, He is building a palace for me over there".

B. Trials Produce A Blessed Life

Verse 12, "Blessed is the man..."

"Though exiled from home yet still I can sing, all glory to God, I’m a child of the King". Real happiness is found in trusting God through the trials of life.

C. Trials Produce A Bountiful Life

"...a crown of life...", v.12.

This is both life and life abundantly here and life eternally hereafter. This could be interpreted as "the crown which consists of life".

D. Trials Produce A Beautiful Life

Robert Browning Hamilton wrote... "I walked a mile with Pleasure.

She chatted all the way. She left me none the wiser, For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with sorrow, and never a word said she:

Bur, oh, the things I learned from her When sorrow walked with me."


It was C.S. Lewis who said, "God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain. It is His megaphone to raise a deaf world". When the going gets tough remember there is a God wise enough, strong enough, and loving enough to see you through. Trust Him, love Him, and serve Him no matter how tough life becomes.

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