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Life is anything but smooth sailing. Events occur that have the capacity to turn our world upside down.

*News of a fatal accident that has taken from us someone who was precious.

*The doctor tells the patient that the tests have revealed a terminal disease.

*The husband confesses concerning an illicit affair.

*The manager calls the employee into the office and says "we will have to let you go"

James goes immediately to addressing "trouble" and how we should respond to the negative experiences of life - or what many would call negative experiences.

Session No. 1         RESIGN OR REJOICE            James 1/1-8

[1] A POSITIVE ATTITUDE (v.2)

a. This has to be a mis-translation here! Surely James can't mean what he says about trials?!

b. "Trial" can mean an outward trial or an inward temptation. It is a test with a positive goal in one's life. To recognise this enables us to have a different attitude towards the situation.

c. Essentially this trial is something outside our control rather than something created by our own foolishness. God is not the creator of all our trials even though He can and does use all circumstances. We need to acknowledge our responsibility for some of the choices we have made.

d. Such trials in life evoke different responses -

*Resentment towards others whose lives seem so much easier & free of trial & pain

*Rebellion towards God for failing to protect us from tests and heartache.

*Resignation towards life so that we become fatalistic - Whatever will be will be

e. James calls us to a response of rejoicing in the midst of trial and tough times! What possible rational/reason can he give for this appeal to his readers?

[2] A POSITIVE ASSURANCE (vs.3,4)

a. We can't embrace this attitude until we believe the assurance given in these verses.

b. Test/Trial develops "hupomone", a Greek word meaning perseverance, staying power, strength, stickability.

c. Hebrews 10/37 - "...you need perseverance..." - Hebrews 11 is written to encourage that quality in the lives of the readers.

*Jesus experienced such testing - Luke 4/1-13; Hebrews 4/15; Hebrews 5/7-9

*Paul knew such suffering in his life - Romans 8/17,18; 2 Cor.11/22-29

*Peter emphasised same truth - 1 Peter 1/6,7

d. Our attitude towards trials changes when we recognise the purpose or value of these trials of faith.

*Perseverance - staying power - this can only be developed in the face of opposition.

*Maturity - strong, developed, stable, consistent Christian life in all areas of faith & practice

*Completeness - soundness/readiness for service - Acts 3/16; 2 Tim. 3/16 (Lacking nothing)

e. To have such a perspective gives great assurance in midst of trials/tests - security re God

f. But how does one get such a perspective? It is so contrary to all we have been taught

[3]A POSITIVE APPROACH (Vs.5-8)

a. Wisdom is the key! (James will describe this in more detail when we get to 3/13-18)

b. Wisdom is the God-given ability to see life's issues from the reality, perspective and values of God's Kingdom

c. It's a godly "mindset" (Rom.12/2 - renewing of mind) that creates an entirely different worldview

d. The wisdom of v.5 is the ability to apply the principle of v.2

*God's Part - He gives generously - this is a prayer that God loves to answer. It was Solomon who asked God for this kind of wisdom. Read 1 Kings 3/7-14

*Our Part - whole-heartedness; there is no room for doubt & double-mindedness. We are to persevere under trial or test as mentioned in v.12 "...the man who perseveres under trial..." - God makes His people tough through tough times.

CONCLUSION:

1. Hebrews 12/2-7 gives us the example of Jesus and is offered as a re-assurance of ultimate good of every trial.

2. If God could take all the events surrounding Calvary and make them work for ultimate good, He can use your trial & mine for our good.

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