A faith that works: A faith that isn’t troubled by troubles
The book of James says God uses the difficulties in our lives for good. They test our faith, help us develop the perseverance necessary to handle pressure and mature our character. This week’s message teaches about a faith that isn’t troubled by trouble.
Something To Talk About:
We all face challenges as we journey this life. The good news is that faith works in every type of circumstance. Faith isn’t dependent on what’s happening around us because it’s rooted in our unshakeable God seated far above it all. Follow these steps to invest in your faith.
- Rejoice in the problem: No matter what challenges and difficulties you face, you can trust God to see you through. That’s why the Bible says you can rejoice when you face trouble: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy” (James 1:2). God’s not saying to deny reality. He’s not saying fake it ‘til you make it. We don’t rejoice for the trouble. But we can still rejoice during the trouble because of what we know is true. We know that God sees and cares about everything we’re going through. We know that we’re never alone and that God is always with us. We know that He will give us strength if we trust Him. Joy is not based on circumstances so that you can rejoice no matter your situation.
- Relax and ask God for wisdom: The Bible tells us precisely what we should do when we don’t know what to do, and we’re feeling the pressure to do the right thing. “If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking. But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm” (James 1:5-6 CEV). God isn’t holding back wisdom. He gives wisdom to anybody who asks for it. We need to ask Him for wisdom on what to do about your job, your future, your kids, your health, or whatever you’re struggling with. How what to do and how to do it. Wisdom helps you learn from any trouble you’re experiencing. It helps you to know what to do and how to move forward in a way that pleases God. He uses every challenge to develop you, not defeat you. If you want God’s wisdom, you’ve got to get in God’s Word.
- Rely on God’s help: To be “godly” is to think about and rely on God instead of anything physical or human. Godliness promises great benefits to our lives, but it doesn’t come naturally. Relying on ourselves sometimes seems safer, easier, and more comfortable than relying on God. Our ideas, emotions, opinions, and efforts are all things we can control. Self-reliance promises protection from harm and freedom from fear, but these are false promises. Self-reliance is limited because humans are limited; there are some things we cannot do. Jesus looked at them and said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything” (Mark 10:27 CEV). Relying on God is telling yourself that you don’t have all the answers and committing to prayer when faced with frustrating situations. It requires trusting that God not only cares but also will make a tangible difference in your life.
- Remember God’s promise: Not many things are more comforting than promises made and kept. And not many things are more hurtful than a promise broken. The Bible is a historical record of the absolute reliability of God’s promises to His people. The Bible reveals the Lord as being utterly dependable and true to His Word…forever faithful to His promises. No matter how many promises God has made, they are “yes” in Christ. The Bible’s promises have always been and always will be trustworthy. We can count on them. Don’t allow the times when you are discouraged or experiencing setbacks in your life to make you give up on God’s promises for you. Even if you do not see what God is doing, He is active behind the scenes. He will fulfill His promise. In our case, we trust the promises God gives us in His Word. So, since faith means trusting God’s promises, how can you have faith without focusing on one of God’s promises? You can’t. Faith is the engine, and God’s promises are the fuel. You want your engine to run, don’t you? So — fill up the tank.
- What does “a faith that works” mean to you?
- “A faith that isn’t troubled by troubles”: Talk about a time when uncertainty made your faith shine brighter.
- Read Hebrews 11:37–38: Does the idea of having the kind of faith that would make the world unworthy of you seem realistic or attainable? Why or why not?
- In what area of your life are you successful at looking forward and being faithful? What are some practical ways you can apply your approach to that area of life to an area in which you’re tempted to look backward and be fearful?
- In what way does God expect you to ask for wisdom? Why is this approach so important?
- What do you need God’s wisdom for today? Ask Him for wisdom in the specific areas you are struggling with. Then, spend time in God’s Word so that He can reveal His wisdom to you.
- Consider this: God promises to freely and generously give us wisdom in all life’s circumstances, if only we ask in faith. Why do you think we ignore this offer?
- We can trust God, no matter how impossible the situation, because God always keeps His promises. Agree or disagree and why?
- If you accepted God’s promises, how would that change your level of faith?
- What will you change this week as a result of this message?
Take One Thing Home with You:
Expect The Unexpected
Life very rarely goes as planned. So much so that we need to expect the unexpected. Sometimes, as believers, we forget that we are called into a life of walking by faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” But sometimes, our circumstances start to erode that faith. This is where trust comes in: will we believe what our events try to convince us is reality, or will we believe God’s Word, that He is in control and the ultimate reality?
If there is a jolting circumstance in your life right now, trust God by seeking Him and talking to Him about what He wants to teach you and accomplish in you through that circumstance. If you allow God, He can turn any setback into a catalyst for your life and use every unexpected event to refine you and strengthen your walk with Him.