Difficult Times: God's Promise Based On Hope
INTRODUCTION: First century believers, not unlike 2lst century believers, were experiencing difficult times. They were struggling with having patience and persevering through difficulties and hardships. James, being the author of what some have referred to as "the handbook on practical Christianity," affirms that real faith produces genuine patience that can allow us to maintain good works, promote peace, and live patiently in anticipation of our Lord's return.
I became a little overwhelmed this week as I prepared this message and sought to understand the spiritual climate in which this passage spoke. In that light, I found myself comparing it to those of you who have lost your jobs; some of you who have lost your homes, car, retirement, hospital insurance, etc.
James tells us that the Lord gives patience in the midst of life's challenges and it marks true believers as a sure sign of real faith. Note: James uses the word patience six times in vv. 7-11.
One writer said, "This passage tells you what to do when you are in a hurry, and God isn't."
James uses words that cause us to look in every direction for answers:
1. Look Upward. 7
2. Look Inward. 8-9
3. Look Backward. 10-11
4. Look Forward. 12
Let me give you 4 Don'ts as we deal with what to "be" during difficult challenges:
1. Don't focus on the situation, or you will be filled with anger.
2. Don't focus on yourself, or you will be filled with self-pity.
3. Don't focus on someone to blame, or you will begin complaining.
4. Don't focus on the present, or you will miss the point of what God is wishing to achieve in your life.
I. BE PATIENT. 7
Would anyone agree, "This is easier said than done!"
A. AN EXHORTATION.
"Patient" - the word stresses non-retaliation. It means to hold one's spirit in check. It implies the ability to keep calm and cool for a long time, witho ...
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