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May 03, 2020 | Randy Gunter

The Blessing and Reward in Trials

The Blessing and Reward in Trials

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. (James 1:2-4 ESV)

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 1:9-12 ESV) 

God uses trials to develop steadfastness, fullness, and completion in us

“Faith does not flourish when it lies untested. It atrophies when it goes unexercised. And eventually it dies. So, when God loves us with his saving love, and gives us saving faith, he commits, because he cares for us, to inject our lives with various trials to train, grow, sweeten, strengthen, and mature what matters most in us.” (David Matthis) 

Being in a relationship with God and pursuing him proves to be eternally valuable (v. 9-10)

People, poor and rich, are called to the treasure of knowing, pursuing, and loving Christ Jesus.

In Christ, the poor boast in their exaltation (co-heirs with Christ), and the rich boast in their humiliation (recognition that the treasures of earth are nothing compared to the treasure of being in relationship with Jesus). 

Trials are equalizers, allowing all people the opportunity to realign with God and his will (vv. 9-11)

Trials make us equally dependent upon God, whether poor or rich.

Trials cause us to consider the lives we live, and they provide opportunities to reorient our hearts to pursue what is eternal.

In Christ, the poor exercise their freedom with contentment, and the rich their freedom with generosity. 

Jesus warned in the parable of the sower that the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful (Matthew 13:22 ESV).

Put your energy and effort into what is lasting and eternal rather than what is fading and dying. 

Three Eternal Focuses:

  • The Word of God - The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8 ESV)
  • The souls of people - For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36 ESV)
  • The love of God - Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 ESV)

God blesses people who remain steadfast in trials (v. 12)

God eternally rewards people who love him (v. 12)

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 1:12 ESV)

  • According to James, God is testing our faith and our love.
  • There is an ongoing competition for our hearts and affections. Trials spotlight our hearts, revealing our love and treasure.
  • A trial may take away temporary things, allowing us to treasure and rejoice in what is eternal.

God loves us enough to allow us to meet various trials.  He tests us to complete us, so we would do well to embrace God’s work in us. 

Series Information

An in-depth study of the book of James. 

Other sermons in the series

Apr 19, 2020

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May 24, 2020

The Pathway to Peace

When we are wronged, human anger presents itself as a solution to the...