SCRIPTURES: James 1:1-6
BOTTOM LINE: In the meantime, believe God is at work in you to mature you. We are perfected through perseverance.
QUESTION: How does God MATURE us in our Faith?
DOWNLOAD: What do we do when there is nothing else we can do?
James, the brother of Jesus, brings us a really, really powerful word to help us in our In the Meantime season. Truth is, I would never ask us to do this or think this way, because it seems almost impossible. But Jesus would … and his brother would! So what we’re diving into here is God’s Word to us, not Ken’s suggestion.
James calls his brother LORD in 1:1. What would it take for us to convince our brother that we were the Son of God?
But then he gets right to the meat in verse 2. James 1:2 … “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
And that’s where we wanna go … NOPE … that’s crazy … I’m not doing that! And again, this is something I wouldn’t ask us to do, but this isn’t me, this is James, the brother of Jesus talking here.
He says … Perhaps instead of considering it terrible … the end of the world … my life as I know it is over … I’ll never be happy again … all that … I want you to consider it as a source of something good!
James 1:3 … “… 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Trials produce Persevering Faith … and when we rad the NT, especially the teachings of Jesus … and if Jesus was speaking for God … and Paul was speaking for God … same w/ the OT … God seems to honor and God is most Glorified by Persevering Faith …
James 1:4 … “4 Let perseverance finish its work so that [here’s the purpose statement] you may be mature …”
This is a new idea for some of us … How do I become MATURE as a Christian? Let Perseverance finish it’s work! And we’re like … Ok God, what else do you have? Is there some other way?
- What if I memorize Scripture? – that’s good, but it won’t make you mature. It will make you smart, but not mature.
- What if I obey every Rule and Law and Commandment – that’s great, and it will make you obedient but not Mature.
In other words … if we don’t allow Perseverance to complete its work, we’ll never be complete … we’ll never be Mature … we’ll always be lacking something … and here’s what he’s telling us [and Jesus taught us this too] … and I think we know this but we just don’t like to face it … but there’s just something about Perseverance that makes us stronger!
There’s something about Perseverance that makes us deeper … and makes our story more attractive … and all throughout the Scripture we see this … Spiritual Maturity is always measured in terms of Persevering Faith … not Perfect Behavior …
James 1:5 … “5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Now … this is so incredible … James says … Look, I know what it’s like to be blindsided … to be doing everything right and then everything goes wrong … I get that … And when we find ourselves in the In the Meantime seasons … ask God for WISDOM … Literally … it’s like God … what’s going on? I don’t understand! Why is this happening? And James says … Pray this prayer! God, what the heck is going on? Show me … I need wisdom! I don’t want to quit believing! I don’t want to run away! I don’t want to hit the EJECT BUTTON or do something stupid! I don’t want to make my life more complicated … so God, I need WISDOM!
James 1:6 … “6 But when you ask [when we ask for WISDOM], you must believe and not doubt …
When we say God, this took me by surprise, and I’m stumped … I don’t see anyway forward and my life is never going to be the same … I’m not sure I can keep going … and I’m supposed to work and I don’t know how to relate … and to be honest God, I’m not sure I can even get out of bed in the morning … so God … I need context … I need to see this in a broader Context …
When we ask that … James says we’ve got to BELIEVE … we’ve got to BELIEVE God is up to something … and that God has a bigger plan … and even in our In the Meantime there is still a personal God who cares for us.
When we ask … BELIEVE … and don’t doubt … and here’s why …
James 1:6 … “6 … because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
In other words … We Endure to Mature … Maturity isn’t about how much we know [that makes us smart] … and it’s not about Obedience and all that [again, both of those are good things and fruit of God’s transformation of our lives] … but Maturity comes when bad things happen … and we choose to BELIEVE anyway.
And we make a conscience decision to BELIEVE that God will use what He may not remove!
Heavenly Father, I believe you will use this until you choose to remove this. Grant me wisdom to see as you see and strength to do as you say.