Text: James 1:9-18
The Big Idea: Trusting God’s character helps us embrace life’s trials.
Key Points: “I can embrace my trial when I know…”
1. God exalts the humble and rewards the faithful.
(v. 9-11) James is reminding those in Christ that their social status doesn’t define them. God does. And God promises to exalt, to elevate, to lift up those who are humble. Those who don’t trust in riches, but who trust in God, they will be exalted. Poverty and wealth are both tests. Poverty can tempt me to doubt God will meet my needs. Wealth can tempt me to doubt my need for God. In both, it’s a matter of the heart. What am I depending on? Who am I trusting in? Find your hope in God, His character, and His promise to uphold those who trust in Him.
(v. 12) But James reminds us that God rewards the faithful, the one who doesn’t quit under trial, the one who trusts that God is in control. This doesn’t mean we will never doubt. We will. We will doubt and we will fall. But we will get back up. “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” He rises again. And again. And again.
2. God tests, but He never tempts.
(v. 13) God will test our faith, as we heard last week, just as metal is tested in the fire, God means for our trials to purify and strengthen our faith. But God will never tempt me to sin. He will never cause something sinful to be attractive to me. When I know more of who God is, then I’m more able to trust what He’s doing. I’m more equipped to trust God in the trials I face.
(v. 14) Whatever you’re facing, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is this: “What do I want? What am I really wanting here?” Asking that will help you get to the heart of the matter, which is your own desire.
(v. 15) Desires are rooted in the belief that we lack something. In Christ, we have everything. We have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ. Forgiveness, righteousness, adoption, identity, acceptance, fulfillment, purpose, power, love, eternal life. When we truly see all we have been given in Christ, nothing in this world can lure us away. God has given us all we need.
3. God is the source of all that is good.
(v. 16-17) James made the negative clear, that nothing bad, nothing evil or sinful comes from God. Now James plants our feet in good news, in what does come from God – the wonderful truth that God is the source of everything good.
(v. 18) Of His own will, God brought us from death to life by the word of truth, by the gospel. Jesus saved you. And Jesus will keep you. The strength to endure and embrace your trial is not found in you. It’s in Him. And if you know God has nothing but the best in store for you, then it makes the trial a little easier to bear, knowing not only that there is purpose, but it’s a good purpose, authored by a good God.