Radical Joy amidst Trials “Real Life” [James] Series James 1:2-4
OBVIOUS INSIGHTS THAT ARE NOT SO OBVIOUS TO CARELESS READERS We WILL face trials as a part of the normal Christian life. Not: IF you meet trials of various kinds. But: WHEN you meet trials of various kinds.
OBVIOUS INSIGHTS THAT ARE NOT SO OBVIOUS TO CARELESS READERS We WILL face trials as a part of the normal Christian life. It is a command not for passive survival but for active joy. Not: When you face trials, don’t complain or get bitter. But: When you face trials, consider it pure, sheer joy!
OBVIOUS INSIGHTS THAT ARE NOT SO OBVIOUS TO CARELESS READERS We WILL face trials as a part of the normal Christian life. It is a command for ACTIVE JOY. Trials are not joyful in themselves (masochism) but they are a means to an end which is joyful. Not: Count all trials joy! But: Count it all joy amidst various trials.
OBVIOUS INSIGHTS THAT ARE NOT SO OBVIOUS TO CARELESS READERS We WILL face trials as a part of the normal Christian life. It is A COMMAND not a suggestion. Trials are not joyful in themselves (masochism) but they are a MEANS TO AN END which is joyful. Trials TEST our faith. Not: In trials, just tell yourself that it will go away soon. But: In trials, don’t waste the golden opportunities to purify and strengthen your faith.
HOW DO WE HAVE RADICAL JOY AMIDST TRIALS? 1)Radical joy comes from the radically transformed values of real faith. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” (v.2) When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. J. B. Phillips' Paraphrase of James 1:2-3
HOW DO WE HAVE RADICAL JOY AMIDST TRIALS? 1)Radical joy comes from the radically transformed values of real faith. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” (v.2) The word, “count/consider” calls for the conscious acceptance of a definite inner attitude for joy by faith. Radical joy is only activated by choices of real faith. The choices are determined by ACTUAL VALUES not professing values—i.e., God is in control and good indeed. The only way to experience radical joy in trials is through the radically transformed values in Christ.
Our Values Determine Our Evaluations Our values determine our evaluations. If we value comfort more than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to ‘count it all joy!’ If we live only for the present and forget about the future, the trials will make us bitter, not better. Job had the right outlook when he said, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10). So, when trials come, immediately give thanks to the Lord and adopt a joyful attitude. Do not pretend; don not try self- hypnosis; simply look at the trials through the eyes of faith. Outlook determines outcome; to end with joy, begin with joy. - Warren Wiersbe
HOW DO WE HAVE RADICAL JOY AMIDST TRIALS? 2)Radical joy comes from knowing the benefits of trials on us. “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (v.3) The benefits of trials are often “masked blessings” of God. Trials offers these benefits on our faith, which we cannot gain in any other way. Therefore, the key to radical joy is in KNOWING the extraordinary outcome of our tried faith through trial. Knowing the BIG picture gives us not only perspective in trial but also steadfastness [“hupomone” means staying under pressure]
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith— more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
HOW DO WE HAVE RADICAL JOY AMIDST TRIALS? 3)Radical joy comes from the result of steadfastness in trials. “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (v.4) A critical part of radical joy in trials is the twofold SURRENDER to the sovereign grace of God in various trials. The first is to accept them as God’s sovereign grace for us. The second is to trust in God’s grace and mercy to take us through trials closer to HIS bosom. The outcome is CHRISTLIKENESS in full maturity of our real faith, which lacks nothing!
The Valley Song (Sing of Your Mercy) by Jars of Clay You have led me to the sadness I have carried this pain On a back bruised, nearly broken I'm crying out to You (Chorus) I will sing of Your mercy That leads me through valleys of sorrow To rivers of joy
The Valley Song (Sing of Your Mercy) by Jars of Clay When death like a gypsy Comes to steal what I love I will still look to the heavens I will still seek Your face But I fear You aren't listening Because there are no words Just the stillness and the hunger For a faith that assures I will sing of Your mercy That leads me through valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy
The Valley Song (Sing of Your Mercy) by Jars of Clay While we wait for rescue With our eyes tightly shut Face to the ground using our hands To cover the fatal cut And though the pain is an ocean Tossing us around, around, around You have calmed greater waters Higher mountains have come down I will sing of Your mercy That leads me through valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 1.Anchor YOUR TRANSFORMED VALUES deeply in God by faith. Accept trials in your life as a faith-testing tool of God. Accept trials in your life as a transforming tool of God. 2.Choose RADICAL JOY OF FAITH in your trials, knowing the outcome of your trials. Be steadfast—rejoicing single-mindedly in your trials. Fight for joy—rejoicing wholeheartedly in your trials. 3.Sing of God’s mercy that enabled you to be STEADFAST thus far in your current trial. Praise God for HIS mercy on you! Let God’s mercy lead you to rivers of joy.
May all your expectations be frustrated. May all your plans be thwarted. May all your desires be withered into nothingness, that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God who is Father, Son, and Spirit. - Larry Hein (Brennan Manning’s Spiritual Director)