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Blessed Through Trials

James 1:9-18

Perseverance and carrying the cross faithfully will lead us to receiving the crown of life and so much more for eternity. 'Blessed is he who perseveres through the trials.'

James 1:9-18 (NIV)

  • v9 - “Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.

    • We are children of God, co-heirs with Christ, Able to call out ‘Abba, Father’ (Romans 8:14-17).

    • In times where we are in the most need we can take pride in being a child of God.

  • v10-11 - “But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

    • What is the humiliation of the rich? The humiliation of the rich is that though they may have many possessions in this world, they cannot take them to eternity.

    • The rich should take pride in this “humiliation”, and focus on God Who is able to give them treasures that are greater than anything this world can offer (Himself).

    • We are the rich. We are the ones who have many possessions and must realize that we need to focus on God and not our possessions.

  • v12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

    • We bear the cross for a while (Matt. 16:21-28), but we will bear the crown of life for eternity.

    • We are called into a walk of faith that requires perseverance and steadfastness. We are called to run this race with endurance, relying on God during the tough times.

    • In Matt 16:22, Peter rebuked Jesus. He was well-intentioned (wanting what he saw as the best / deserving for Jesus), but was wrong to do so as we see in v23, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

    • Phew! What a rebuke from Jesus. Far too often we think we know best. We look at a situation from what we think and respond in kind, but God has plans ever greater than we could ever understand (Isaiah 55:8-9).

    • We are called to deny ourselves, to pick up our cross, and faithfully follow Christ. Then and only then will Christ reward each of us.

    • This reward (v12) for following Christ and persevering our trials is said to be the crown of life.

  • v13 “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

    • God may allow temptation and trial (such as Job), and God may use temptation and trial for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), but God is never the source of the temptation.

    • When we are tempted, or when trials come, we cannot say that it is from God. All good things come from God (James 1:17), and only good things come from God. For we are told that a good tree produces good fruit, and we are told MANY times that God is good (Nahum 1:7; Mark 10:18; Psalm 34:8,86:5,100:5, …)

    • He is too good, holy, perfect to be tempted, and He does not tempt anyone.

    • So where does temptation come from then, Satan?

  • v14-15 “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

    • Here it is telling us that temptation comes from… within ourselves!

    • We have indwelling sinful desires which bring about temptation which can lead us to sin.

    • When we sin it is due to a lack of wisdom, self control, or purity of heart and mind. These things are God. It is not possible for God to contradict His very nature to tempt us. God IS wise, in control, and pure.

    • God is so holy that he cannot even be tempted by evil. It’s not possible for God to sin. He is the very definition of holiness, which is the opposite of sin. And since He cannot be tempted by evil because He is holy, then He also cannot be the source of temptation, because that would have to originate from a place other than holiness.

  • v16-17 “16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

    • Don’t be deceived by the lie that anything but good comes from God.

    • God never changes! This is a delightful statement. This means that every promise God has ever given us will forever remain true. This means that God’s character will never change. His loving salvation will never be withdrawn!

  • v18 “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

    • Every good gift comes from God, and it all starts with our salvation. God makes us new in Christ jesus. He makes us reborn through the gospel (the Word of Truth).

    • “He Chose” further reinforces that God always does good things for us, even when we do not deserve it.

    • Love is a choice, not just an emotion. God Loves us. God chose us.

    • Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

A few main points in summary of this passage:

  1. Regardless of situation or circumstance, we can and should focus on the source of all good things: God.

  2. Perseverance and carrying the cross faithfully will lead us to receiving the crown of life and so much more for eternity.

  3. God is good. He will not (for he cannot) tempt us. Temptation comes from within and through relying on God we can resist it faithfully. God is the source of all good things, and for this we can praise Him, love Him, follow Him, and endure all things pursuing Him.