We are taking a break for the summer until futher notice.

Week 1 - Day 3

Review James 1:2-4 and what you learned yesterday about trials.

1. Compare the reactions to trials in the following verses with what you saw in James.
-a. Mt. 5:11-12
-b. Acts 5:41
-c. 2 Cor. 7:4
-d. Rom. 5:3-4

2. How different are these kinds of reactions to what you see in the world today? How do you generally see people respond to difficult times and overwhelming situations that they face?

We saw from James 1:2-4 that there are positive results to trials in a believer’s life. The word in James 1:3-4 translated “patience” (KJV), “perseverance” (NIV), or “endurance” (NET; NASB) is explained by D. Edmond Hiebert: “It presents the picture of being under a heavy load and resolutely staying there instead of trying to escape.”

What is your natural tendency in trials—to run or to stay? I think we would all agree that we prefer to run. How do we run? Sometimes running means that our focus is on asking God to take the load away rather than focusing on how He can use it for His kingdom and His glory. Sometimes running means that we put the load down and run away ourselves if we have that option!

Since this is a study for women, I want to be sure you don’t mistake this as a call to put up with physical abuse. Run and get help! But if the abuser is your husband, don’t give up on the relationship in the process. This is your husband so do everything within your power to preserve and rebuild the marriage that doesn’t risk you or your children.

1. Sharing Question: Share with your group a trial—doesn’t have to be a big one like financial ruin or a death threat—from which you chose to run rather than face it. Or share about a trial from which you learned endurance because you did stay under it.

2. Responding to God: Pray about a situation in your life right now that is so difficult that you want to avoid it. Pray for God to teach you “endurance” through this situation. Tell Him that you choose to carry the load until He takes it from you. Write down your prayer below.

3. Stronger Jeans (optional): The book of James seems to involve many loosely related topics. As best you can, choose themes for each chapter and an overall theme of the book. If you know how to put it in a book chart, you may want to do that. This will be your optional assignment for the entire week.


DA Wagners said...

One trial that I chose to face was staying at a low paying teaching position at a Christian school when I was offered an awesome job that paid almost 3 times as much, writing test-prep curriculum on the Internet. Teaching was very difficult for me because it was way outside my comfort zone. Sitting at a computer writing test questions was SO appealing. This was extremely difficult time because to others this decision was a no-brainer: take the better job! I had no one to turn to; it was between me and God. I knew God wanted me to teach one more year and not take that other job. I agonized over it and was so upset at God for forcing me to keep a job that I didn't want. However, I finally succumbed to His will. God broke my character so much during that year. I finally allowed Him to change me. And I tried to change and learn as much as possible so I wouldn't have to teach another year and go through the entire process again. I can honestly say that that year was one of the hardest but most rewarding years of my life. I grew in Christ and got a much better understanding of the nature of God and all that He does for His children.

Anonymous said...

A trial that I never expected occurred over a period of 2 years. It was not my doing to go through this trial and looking back I truly felt God orchestrated the circumstances that put me in the situation.

I can honestly say it was the most difficult trial I've had my entire life. Growing up in church I used to wonder how a few Christians are really authentically Christians and not just church goers serving in their committees. Well, I believe it's through trials.

It was through this trial that I was forced to really face what I am and what a Christian truly means. I was forced to look at my love walk. Do I love people as Jesus loved? Do I really love my enemies. Is there love in me flowing out to others everyday?

My faith stretched to it's limit such that I had to pray for help for my unbelief and for more faith for the next bad news that surfaced.

God's Word was not just verses, but those precious words renewed my mind and I knew in my heart, mind and will that He will never leave us nor forsake us, that nothing can separate us from His love, that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.

I can honestly say in my personal trial not only did I consider it nothing but joy but that I had and continue to express to the Lord that it was really an honor to go through these fiery trials because there was a work in me needing to be done and I am no longer who I was...I have been changed.

Twisting His Arm said...

A long time ago, I had a good friend that could be really hurtful sometimes. I had to make a decision; accept this friend how she is or walk away. I am glad I stuck around because now we are still good friends. That’s what friends do; they sand down the rough edges and make us better people. Thank God I have friends that push me to be better but still allow me to be imperfect!!! :-) Christina

Latoya said...

Trials...the trials I face include school (getting a passing grade in hard classes) and sometimes finances. I want to get out of debt. As with school, I can't run for I usually don't have much problems till the end of the course. By that time, I can't get out of the class. I have to pass or pay back the government for the class. So I don't have a choice but to pull through. When it comes to my finances, I have been blessed with a great buisness opportunity that is doing wonderful things for me. I am just not getting the 10,000 to cover all debt right now. As I am writing, I believe my trial is really defeating procrastination and getting my life in order. I know that if I spent more time with the Lord during the day and gave Him the first hours of the day, things would go smoother for me. I rejoice in the Lord sticking with me despite my dragging my feet.

Canadian Bird said...

Trials that have defined me are numerous. One of my trials was as a new re-dedicated Christian, with God telling me to let go of the familliar & trust in Him. I resisted for a LONG time...but finally relented, gave in, gave over, surrendered. It was the greatest, most immediate feeling of PEACE I've ever felt when making a decision. What should have been heart-wrenching just wasn't. To this day, I marvel at God's awesome power to change hearts & give strength that we never knew we had. Thank you Lord!
Another trial came last summer when my parents had a horrific experience that landed my Daddy in the ICU at one of Canada's best trauma hospitals, & required him to have surgery. I cried out to God, not with respect, but with anger & first. But as I went through the stages of grief, & began to see God's AMAZING grace within the situation, I wept with thanksgiving... My Dad's favourite verse, Romans 8:28 states: "we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose..."
I still don't know the reason for that trial, but I do know that my fear of being one of the people of this world who abandon their faith in troubling times has been proven wrong...I turned to God completely & passionately (even when I was angry with Him)...I never gave up. I was proud to be able to count myself as one who was able to "rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4
Maybe I am worthy of His discipleship after all...

Anonymous said...

Honestly, at this time, I can't recall a trial that I perserved through. I know there are many, I guess my brain isn't functioning right now.
I do know that I really need to find joy in my trials. Currently, I have a few, and releasing my worry should be my priority along with finding the joy in it, knowing that it will grow me.

Anonymous said...

My trials today are internal. A critical spirit, judgemental thoughts, just to mention a few. I feel like a Pharisee at times, the differnece is I KNOW God is at work in me. God is using dear friends to "sand" down those rough edges. I trust and believe that when it is all said and done that I'll be little smoother in that area of need and we'll move on to the next area of need.