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                         "THE EPISTLE OF JAMES"

                  Turning Trials Into Triumph (James 1:2-8)

INTRODUCTION

1. Perhaps you have seen the bumper sticker: "When life hands you a
   lemon, make lemonade!"

2. It is easier to smile at that statement than to practice it, but the
   basic philosophy is sound
   a. In fact, it is Biblical
   b. Throughout the Bible are examples of people who turned defeat
      into victory and trials into triumph
   c. Instead of being VICTIMS, they became VICTORS

3. The Epistle of James tells us that we can have this same experience
   today!
   a. Whether we are dealing with trials on the outside
   b. Or temptations on the inside
   -- Through faith in God and Jesus Christ we CAN experience victory!

4. The KEY to turning trials into triumph is to obey four imperatives:
   a. COUNT - Chap 1:2
   b. KNOW  - Chap 1:3
   c. LET   - Chap 1:4
   d. ASK   - Chap 1:5-8

[Starting with verse two, then, let's look at the first imperative]

I. "COUNT IT ALL JOY WHEN YOU FALL INTO VARIOUS TRIALS" (Vs 1:2)

   A. NOTICE THAT JAMES ASSUMES THAT WE WILL EXPERIENCE TRIALS
      1. He doesn't say "if" but "when"
      2. This is because Christians must expect trials
         a. So said Jesus - Jn 16:33 
         b. Paul also - Ac 14:22 
      3. The nature of these trials are "various"
         a. Some trials come simply because we are human
            1) Sickness, accidents
            2) Disappointments, death
         b. Other trials come because we are Christians - 1 Pe 4:12;
            2 Ti 3:12 
      4. Because Satan fights us, and the world opposes us, we can
         expect trials!

   B. WHAT IS TO BE THE CHRISTIAN'S RESPONSE? - "COUNT IT ALL JOY!"
      1. This was the attitude of:
         a. The apostles - Ac 5:41 
         b. Paul - Ro 5:3 ; Ph 2:17-18 
         c. The Christians - 1 Pe 1:6-8; 1 Pe 4:12-14
      2. So the first step to turning trials into triumph is to:
         IMMEDIATELY THANK GOD AND ADOPT A JOYFUL ATTITUDE!

["But how," we may ask, "is it possible to rejoice in the midst of
trials?"  The second imperative in verse 3 explains how]

II. "KNOWING THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH PRODUCES PATIENCE" (v3)

   A. THE RIGHT KNOWLEDGE CONCERNING THE VALUE OF TRIALS MAKES IT
      POSSIBLE TO HAVE A JOYFUL ATTITUDE
      1. We are to understand that:
         a. Trials test our faith
         b. Faith tested can bring out the best in us!
            1) Just as fire purifies gold - 1 Pe 1:7 
            2) Just as training makes the athlete stronger
      2. With this understanding, we can have joy in trials because we
         know that:
         a. Testing works FOR us, not AGAINST us - cf. 2 Co 4:17 
         b. Trials rightly used help us to mature

   B. SPECIFICALLY, FAITH TESTED PRODUCES "PATIENCE"
      1. Notice Ro 5:3-4 
      2. In the BIBLE
         a. "Patience" is NOT a passive acceptance of circumstances
         b. The GREEK word is HUPOMONE
            1) From the preposition HUPO (under), and MENO (to remain, to abide)
            2) It denotes the ability to exhibit stedfastness and
               constancy in the face of the most formidable difficulty!
         c. It is a courageous perseverance in the face of suffering!
         d. It is the continuing on even when it is rough, despite the
            circumstances
      3. Such a quality of stedfastness can come only through
         experiencing trials
      4. The value of developing PATIENCE will be seen shortly

[Having this understanding about what trials can accomplish enables us to
have a joyful attitude toward such trials.

But to really benefit from our trials, we must also obey the third
imperative found in verse four]

III. "LET PATIENCE HAVE ITS PERFECT WORK" (v4)

   A. TO TRULY TURN TRIALS INTO TRIUMPH, WE MUST LET "PATIENCE" DO ITS
      WORK
      1. Too often, we want to get our trials or difficulties over with
         quickly
      2. But there are times when the best course is to bear up under
         the trial patiently
         a. Instead of grumbling and complaining
         b. patiently endure the trial, doing good despite the trial

   B. FOR WHEN PATIENCE HAS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK, IT PRODUCES
      "MATURITY"!
      1. The word PERFECT does not mean sinlessness, but "completeness,
         wholeness, maturity"
      2. In the New Testament, it is used of those who:
         a. Have attained to spiritual manhood in Christ
         b. Have reached full maturity and understanding in spiritual
            matters
         c. Are no longer "babes" and immature persons in Christ
      3. Such maturity comes only when patience has had time to work!
         a. Consider, for example, an endurance runner in his training
            1) To be a mature runner requires letting patience do its
               work
            2) That is, patiently running mile after mile in training
         b. If we wish to run the race well spiritually speaking, we
            need to develop patience
            1) Which comes only through a form of spiritual "resistance
               training"
            2) That is, trials in which our faith is put to the test!

[Letting patience have its perfect work is not easy.  It certainly
requires wisdom which enables us to see the value of our trials.

This brings us to the fourth imperative necessary to turn trials into
triumph, found in verses five to eight]

IV. "LET HIM ASK OF GOD" (Vs 5-8)

   A. IF WE LACK WISDOM, ASK FOR IT FROM GOD!
      1. He has promised to give it liberally
      2. And He will not reproach us for making such a request
      3. Even as Solomon's request for wisdom was well-pleasing to God
         - 1 Kings 3:7-12 

   B. WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS "WISDOM"?
      1. We should be careful to distinguish "wisdom" from "knowledge"
         a. Knowledge involves information, facts, etc.
         b. Wisdom is the ability or insight to properly use those facts
            in the most expeditious way
      2. Failure to understand this distinction has led many into error!
         a. Many believe that this passage (Ja 1:5-8) teaches that God
            will give knowledge concerning His Will in answer to prayer
         b. But knowledge comes only through His Word; we must carefully
            study it if we would know the Will of God!
         c. However, the WISDOM to properly use His Word can be received
            through prayer

   C. THE WISDOM TO PROPERLY USE TRIALS AND TURN THEM INTO TRIUMPH CAN
      LIKEWISE COME THROUGH "PROPER" PRAYER
      1. Proper prayer is that asked in faith and with no doubt
      2. Otherwise, the prayer will not be answered by God

CONCLUSION

1. So here is the key to turning trials into triumph:
   a. Having the knowledge and perspective that adversity can accomplish
      much good
   b. Letting the patient enduring of adversity acommplish its work
   c. All the while using the wisdom God gives in answer to prayer to
      help put it all together

2. When this is done, even trials can be a source of joy for the
   Christian!

Have we learned to make lemonade out of our lemons in life?

Note:  Much of the material for this outline was adapted heavily
from The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume 2, by Warren W. Wiersbe,
pages 337-340.
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