Trials are a good thing? Are you kidding me?
OCTOBER 7, 2021
Trials are a good thing? Are you kidding me? We’ll talk about it on this edition of Key Life.
This is Key Life. We’re here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Pete Alwinson is a former pastor, founder of ForgeTruth.com and the author of Like Father, Like Son. And he’s been teaching us all this week.
Thank you Matthew. And it’s good to be with you again, Pete Alwinson sitting in for Steve Brown. We’re giving Steve just a short break this week. And this week we’ve been looking in James chapter one at the whole subject of trials. And, James tells us to consider them all joy. Is that possible? Well, it is because the reality is, is they help us grow. You can open up your Bibles to James chapter one and follow along with me. And I’m going to read something here in just a minute, but I want to remind you and refresh your memory, where we’ve come from. We’ve defined trials. We, our first point was trials defined. We looked at the reality that trials, and the word trials can be defined in two ways. One, those negative things that hit us from the outside. And, some of those temptations that come at us from within, and we’re going to look at that a little bit more today. Then we saw trials inevitability, we live in a broken world and you know, I’ll bet you, I bet you today, some of you have already experienced trial. Your, your, your computer crashed. Your kids got angry at you, you and your spouse had a fight on the way out the door today. Well, trials are inevitable in a broken world and they’re very diverse, that’s the third point, trial’s diversity. The various kinds of trial there are relational trials, personal trials, impersonal trials, self caused trials. But then we saw in verses three and four, that trials have a real divine functionality to them. They’re to build endurance in us, so that we can grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. So we can become like Jesus. And, one of the great points that we were looking at was trial’s conquerability in verses 5 through 12. Let me read that to you again. Here we go.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf for the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord; being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Trials are conquerable. But if we don’t know why we have them, why we’re experiencing them, James says, ask for wisdom. Ask for the Sophia of God, ask for God to say, to show you through the Holy Spirit, the point that he’s trying to bring of growth in your life. That’s the wisdom we want. Lord, what do you want me to grow? How do you want me to grow in this way? Now in verse nine, James goes on, he says.
Now the brother or sister of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position, but the rich person is to glory in his humiliation, because like the flowering grass he will pass away: For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; and its flower falls off, and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed. So also the rich person in the midst of his pursuits will die out.
Blessed is a man or women who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved he’ll receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Trials are conquerable. They really are. This is amazing. And it’s a long, long text here that I just read. But what James is teaching here is very, very simple. If you’re going through a trial, as God has ordained you sovereignly to go through, ask for wisdom and consider it joy. And if you’re being humbled in the midst of that trial, that’s a very good thing. But this really is a, is a game changer, if you get this. And, I am just starting to get this, and I’ve been following Jesus for a long time. But this chapter has been one that has been so helpful to memorize in my life. Trials are conquerable, persevere, grow up Pete and the Lord will give you an Olympic gold medal at the end. I mean, that’s what it’s all about, the rewards that he gives us, not the approval or the rewards that other people give us. Well, there’s one last point, that really deals with the second interpretation of the word peirasmos, which is translated trials. And here’s my last point in our discussion on trials for this week. Here it is. Trials or temptations ownership, trials or temptations ownership, in verses 13 through 18.
No one is to say when he is tempted.
And here’s the same word, peirasmos, but now the translators have translated it tempted because the meaning has changed from external threats or difficulties to the internal struggle.
No one is to say when he is tempted, “I’m being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he’s carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived it gives birth to sin, and sin when it has run its course brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters. Every good thing, every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of his will he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among his creatures.
Ah, I love this text, you know, grace says to us, I am God’s deeply beloved son or daughter. And because grace understands that we have that radical acceptance of God, that he really isn’t angry at us at all. In fact, he poured out all of his anger on his son, our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. He’s got no anger left for you. No, really, I mean that, but, but our guilt conscience is so intense that we think God often is angry at us. And that’s why every day at the beginning of the day in my daily appointment with God, I remember that I am God’s deeply beloved and redeemed son, all because of Jesus. And when I get that, then I understand that no matter what I have to face that day, or what comes up in that day, or what comes from myself, I can accept it. You see, grace gives us the ability to look our self in the mirror. Listen, I don’t encourage you to read this book, but David Goggins has written a book, former Navy Seal, entitled You Can’t Hurt Me. And listen, he uses more swear words than I’ve ever heard in my entire life. But it’s an absolutely interesting book and he’s got a mirror in his bathroom that he calls the accountability mirror. And he, on that mirror, he posts with post-it notes, those areas that he’s confronting in himself to grow. I love this. He’s a pagan. And he understands the principle of an accountability mirror, in which he’s able to say, Hey, you’re overweight, you’re angry, you need to control yourself more. I love that. I love the idea of an accountability mirror. But grace enables me to look at the real me and own the temptations that come from within. The Bible says that our enemy consists of, the world, the flesh and the devil. And that’s true. But a lot of times I am my own worst enemy, but grace gives me the ability to look at myself and to say, Pete, you lost your temper way too easily. That’s on you. And I can say, wow, yeah, but you don’t know my home life. I mean, Father, my dad was angry and I inherited anger from him and he said, Hey, you’re my son. You are my son. And you can own that now. And so, I was able to come to a point where I could own my own anger. You know, what about our own lusts, those things that seem to control us that well up from within, the temptations. Well, maybe on our accountability mirror, we could post the note. Hey, you know, the reality is you watch a lot of things on your iPhone or on TV that fuel your temptation. What are you putting your eyes on these days? You could take responsibility for that. I love how the Gospel enables me to know that I am so loved that I can face myself in every way and face those trials. And to say that every good thing and every perfect gift that God gives comes down from him and even trials are gifts. I look back on some of the trials in my life as a pastor and in ministry and as a father and as a husband and, and, and, you know, I wouldn’t want to go through those things again, I spent more sleepless nights dealing with those people that might have wanted to leave the church and have come to me and say, pastor, you know, I’ve got to leave the church because you’re really not meeting my need in this area. I’m not being fed. And how easy it is to take that all personally or to lash back on them. But if I understand that all trials are conquerable that come in diverse manners, but that they are a temptation sometimes that come from within, I can own them and I can say, God, I own it because I’m your son. Thank you. You take it to heart. Amen.
Thank you Pete. Of course, that was our good friend Pete Alwinson wrapping up his week of teaching from James. If you missed any of those episodes, be sure to stop by and say hello to us at keylife.org. And if you miss Steve, well, then come back tomorrow for Friday Q&A. Tomorrow. Steve and Pete will answer this question. Is revelation chronological? Join us tomorrow to find out. So, here’s a question. Have you ever considered the fact that Jesus is actually alive right here and active right now? Well, Steve gave a sermon a while back called When Jesus Leaves the Building. In that talk, he teaches from Luke 4 on what happens when Jesus is in the building. No spoilers, but here’s the gist, it’s all good, it’s all grace, it’s all quite irritating and it’s all there is. Would it be okay if we mailed you that whole sermon on a CD, for free? If so, then let us know right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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