How do we respond to trials with wisdom? James 1:1-8 is a great resource that teaches how to walk through life with wisdom:
- Jesus is Lord: In verse 1 James refers to Jesus as Lord. This is significant because James grew up with Jesus as His younger brother. Could you imagine calling your older brother Lord? James did, and it is critical to see Jesus not only as your Savior, but as your Lord when you go through trials.
- When / Not If: In verse 2 we see trials are going to come. I know our culture teaches us to expect life to be easy, but God makes it really clear trials are going to come. They might be situational trials like a car accident, status trials like not getting married, or sin trials like ignoring God, but trials are going to come.
- Consider: In verse 2 we are taught to Consider our trials. Specifically, as we go through trials we would consider how we see ourselves, others, and God. Does it line up with Scripture? Is there deception from the enemy? Are we in relationship with others for godly counsel?
- Persevere: In verses 3-4 God is teaching us to stand firm in our trials. The purpose of our trials are an extension of God’s grace to help us mature and stand firm in Him. Really. It is His grace that allows trials. It is why He must be our Lord. It is why we must consider our trials, and it is why we can consider it all joy.
- Ask for Help: In verses 5-8 God teaches us to ask for wisdom. We can’t walk through wisdom with Him. He is the embodiment of wisdom. He is good. He wants us to mature in Him, consider; rightly see Him, ourselves, and others, and for that to happen we need His wisdom.
God knows you are running to illusions that will let you down. He knows you are hoping in idols that are frail. He knows you are placing your foot on shifting sand, so that these trials are an extension of His grace so that we might find our footing in Him.
Matthew 6:19-21, “19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Treasures On Earth Are Powerful: Verses 19-20
- Earthly treasures are DISORIENTING. How do you know when you have enough? It isn’t wicked to get a house, get a car, get a cup of coffee, but how do you know when you have enough? How do you know when you are being greedy? How do you know when you are being wise with money? How do you know when you are being generous? How do you know the difference between storing up treasures on earth, and being wise to save for the day you are older? How do you know?
- Earthly treasures are DISRUPTIVE. You will change jobs, changes houses, change cities because you will convince yourself that you need more earthly treasures.
- Earthly treasures will breed DISCONTENT. How many times have you been going through life, feeling okay about yourself, and then you go to someone’s house and you see their television, house, car, pictures, and you think to yourself, “What have I been doing with my life?” You immediately feel horrible about yourself. 10-minutes ago you felt great, you thought about going to your high school reunion, but now you are in such a place of despair you can’t imagine getting out of bed.
- Earthly treasures are DECEPTIVE. When you get them they promise they are going to make everything better, and they never last. Pretty soon they end up on Craigslist with every other earthly treasure, and on the hunt for a new earthly treasure.
Do you know the greatest treasure we could ever imagine? He is the visible of the invisible God. He is Lord over all. He is the second person of the trinity. He is eternally connected to the Father and the Spirit, and yet He lays all of His heavenly treasure aside to come and take on flesh. His name is Jesus.
He was born in a manger. He born into poverty. He was despised and rejected, He was stripped naked of all His earthly possessions, and spiritually stripped from the Father and the Spirit when He willingly lays down His life at the cross, and He went through all of it for you.
While you were yet sinners, while you were yet enemies storing up treasures on earth and He completely gives His life for you because He is deeply committed to you.
He’s is the only One that will last, and He invites you to turn to Him and find the greatest treasure you could ever imagine.
Ephesians 3:2-3, “2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.”
In verses 2-3 the Apostle Paul is going to refer to our relationship with God as a “Mystery.” Now when we hear the word “Mystery” it sounds like we are watching one of those mystery shows on Dateline.
The whole time you are trying to figure out the motive, murderer, the mystery, but in verse 3 when you see the word “Mystery” in the original language it isn’t about discovering the answer on your own, but that the mystery is so mysterious that God must reveal Himself and make Himself known.
John 13:1, “1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
This means the cross is coming, and Jesus is wanting to take these last few moments to press into His closest friends about the most important things.
It is as if He is saying, “You have heard Me teach, you have seen miraculous healings, you have seen crowds gathered, but Jesus wants to make sure they are focused on the most important things. Look at verse 2:
John 13:2, “2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,”
Ecclesiastes:10:10, “If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.”
We all see areas where we need to grow, or areas where we are deficient, but we don’t know how to improve those areas. A “Yearly Planning Retreat” is to help you with the, “How?”
In John 5, Jesus explains that He knew exactly what He came to do and He was working toward that end. We all know it is important to work, but we end up working IN our life instead of ON our life. We end up spending our week working really hard on mowing the yard, making dinner, cleaning clothes, but we don’t take time to work on our life where we reflect, pray, and plan.
This retreat is going to be vital to help us thrive in this new life we have been given in Jesus. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength.” Therefore, we want to use this time to “sharpen our edges” so that we can enjoy the full life we have been freely given in Jesus.
My hope and prayer is that the power of God would resonate in our hearts so that we all might have a vision for our life that brings great joy to our soul and greater glory to our Savior!
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Right now our church family is teaching through a series to help us experience the greatest life Jesus has to offer. Here are few empty lies robbing us of rest, joy, hope, and peace that is freely given in Jesus:
Spiritual Pride: Genesis teaches us we are created with purpose, meaning, and value that comes directly from God, but when we put ourselves in that position it is going to rob us of all that Jesus has to offer. We will find ourselves saying things like, “How come those good things aren’t happening in my life? How come bad things keep happening in my life? Or, who cares what happens in the lives of other people?”
The reason we will land in this place is because we have placed ourselves at the center, and all the weight of life is resting on our shoulders.
Our heritage at North Village Church is connected to a vision to saturate Greater Austin with local churches that exist to see every man, woman, and child have an opportunity to experience the life transforming power through faith in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
Our hope is that in our life time we will see the spiritual landscape of Greater Austin transformed by the gospel so that more of our gifts and talents are being directed toward His glory.
But, many will ask, “Why start so many churches in one area?” It is because many times new churches are simply taking people from other churches. It doesn’t really expand the kingdom, but more so shuffles the chairs. Therefore, these new churches are deeply dependent on God’s power to ignite new life in the people of greater Austin, and by God’s grace we will see new churches coming out of those communities.