Expectations are powerful. What we think we are going to encounter in a future event shapes our preparation for the event. If we are going to a football game to watch, our preparation will look quite a bit different than if we expect to play. James writes his letter to people who may have expected to watch, but they found themselves on the field. He instructs them and us how to engage the Christian life with honesty, grit and godly wisdom so we will succeed.
Read James 1:2-8
James 1:2-8 restated (not translated) in my emotional response terms:
(v2) Dont despair, my friends, when life sucks.
(v3) because in suffering you will stretch your capacity to love both God and people.
(v4) And let the stretching complete its work until you are mature, reaching the goal of Christ-likeness.
(v5) But if you get stuck, ask God for insight, He is very willing to guide you and He wont shame you for asking, in fact you can count on His help.
(vs6-8) However, when you ask, dont think you know better than Him. Do what He says! If you dont, you will never succeed.
James is calling us to maturity.
He is very honest. This is going to hurt, let it hurt, and dont quit. It will be worth it.
What does maturity look like?
People who are unflappable. Been there, done that, got through it, learned how.
The opposite of a toddler. Ever tell a two year old-no! We must be able to hear no, and wait.
Why should I be concerned with maturity? I prayed the sinners prayer. Im saved, isnt that enough?
Yes and no.
Yes. We are all saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ sacrificed on the cross in our place.
NO. We must hold fast our faith in Him until we see Him (Mt 25:1-12).
How do I gain maturity, so that Ill hold firm in faith and get to heaven?
(vs2-3) Embrace the challenge.
(v4) Dont quit.
(v5) Ask for Gods wisdom.
- The world has a type of wisdom that is selfish, unspiritual
a) How to get rich
b) How to be sexy and irresistible
c) How to be powerful
- Gods wisdom is otherly
a) How to be patient
b) How to be kind
c) How to be humble
d) How will God train us to be like this? He will ask us to be patient, kind and humble when everything inside of us screams
like a two year old, NO!
(vs6-8) Ask for wisdom with a resolute heart to obey.
James is a plain-spoken, heres-where-the-rubber-meets-the-road, kind of man. He gives it to us straight. The Christian life is not a walk in the park. The pressures of life, the challenges of obeying Jesus are going to stretch you. But if you press in to the work, and rely on Gods wisdom you will succeed and be forever grateful.
1) What trials are you facing? 2) How is God growing you in the midst of those trials?