How to ENDURE Through the Holidays

How to ENDURE Through the Holidays October 30, 2022

How to ENDURE Through the Holidays

How to ENDURE Through the Holidays

How to ENDURE Through the Holidays from James 1:16-21 is part two in the series of sermons on “How to Care for Myself During the Holidays.”

I see this section as a progression. In James 1, we see that the Christian life is about personal growth. First, we grow through trials. Then we grow through overcoming temptation. Then there are stages of growth relate to the Word of God, the Bible.[1]

The section begins by sharing about the challenge of trials in life. Then it moves to the trap of temptation. This is followed by the ability to make it through trials and overcome temptation: endurance.

So briefly, I want to remind ourselves of the differences between trials and temptations:

Trials and temptations are NOT the same thing. There is a difference.

Trials are given by God. Temptations come from ourselves. Trials serve to help you grow. Temptations serve to keep you from growing. Trials lead to life. Temptations lead to death. Trials produce joy. Temptations when endured, produce blessings.

At the same time, there is a similarity between the way that temptation by the devil to sin and endurance provided by God to overcome temptation. You can see the stages of temptation in James 1:14-15. This is contrasted with the steps of endurance that God teaches me in hard times. Notice the similar stages and images:

STAGES OF TEMPTATION (1:14-15)

But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” (James 1:14–15, CSB)

  1. Enticement
  2. Conception
  3. Birth
  4. Death

STAGES OF FOLLOWING GOD MIRROR TEMPTATION (1:17-18)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:17–18, CSB)

  1. Gifts come from the Father
  2. Through the message of truth
  3. We receive a new birth
  4. This produces fruit

James uses two similar images to describe the negative path in life and the positive path in life. The stages of temptation are itself two images. The first is the image of a fish being caught, which switches to the image of a baby being born. So, one is lured into temptation, which conceives sin in a person. When the sin baby grows up, the result is death.

In a similar way, God gives us the gift of eternal life. Unlike the lure of sin that tempts me, the gift of eternal life comes down from God. By God’s own choice, He conceives salvation by the word of truth. When salvation grows in me, this produces fruit.

You can see the similar process. One is to hurt you. One is to help you. When you fall into temptations, it will destroy you. When you accept God’s gift, it will affirm you. [2]

SIX STEPS OF ENDURANCE THAT GOD TEACHES ME

DURING HARD TIMES

Expect something good from God

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:16–17, CSB)

The devil deceives. God gives good gifts. There are some people whom we expect good things from: Grandparents, Santa Claus, and God.

Never waiver from depending upon God

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, CSB)

We can’t know precisely why James chose this metaphor, but first-century readers would have been very familiar with the challenges of poor lighting and shifting shadows. Casting God as an unwavering source of light, one that does not shift or change, provides a powerful image of his character.[3]

God doesn’t change and shift around. He doesn’t waiver. He is solid and dependable. We should never waiver from depending upon God. Endurance on my part is to keep trusting God even when the circumstances around me shift around.

Depend on the word to help me grow

By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18, CSB)

This verse is the opposite of what happens when Satan deceives you. The temptation leads to a “birth” of sin, that ends in death.

Here, the Word of God gives birth in the life of a believer and ends in being a harvest. There is a reason that the Word of God is compared to milk and meat. The Word feeds the believer. Water, sunlight, and minerals help plants grow to produce fruit. The Word feeds the believer to produce fruit in life.

Understand how anger can limit me.

My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” (James 1:19–20, CSB)

EXAMPLES OF HOW ANGER DOESN’T HELP ME

For anger kills a fool, and jealousy slays the gullible.” (Job 5:2, CSB)

Those who have a godless heart harbor anger; even when God binds them, they do not cry for help.” (Job 36:13, CSB)

A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.” (Proverbs 15:1, CSB)

A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but one slow to anger calms strife.” (Proverbs 15:18, CSB)

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise person holds it in check.” (Proverbs 29:11, CSB)

For the churning of milk produces butter, and twisting a nose draws blood, and stirring up anger produces strife.” (Proverbs 30:33, CSB)

Rid myself of evil

Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent…” (James 1:21, CSB)

“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness” (James 1:21). True repentance must always begin with putting off evil and turning from it.[4]

Easily receive the security that God’s Word provides

“…humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21, CSB)

“Save you” refers not to the initial gift of salvation but to the working out of the salvation process. This verse is about not conversion but maturity. the same “Word” that God used to give us new life has been implanted in us and can continue to save us from the power of sin in our lives as we live in accordance with the truth we first began to learn at our conversion[5]

James is concluding his thought about enduring through trials by reinforcing the idea that it’s the Word of God that saves people. It does it in a secure fashion.

People are saved by hearing and hearing comes from the Word of God.

The key is that this can easily be done. The word “humbly” in this verse means about the manner and way in which someone accepts the Gospel message. It means gently, or easily.

This means that it is not hard to accept the Gospel. It’s very easily. The only person who prevents someone from accepting the Gospel is themselves.

Now why this talk of the Gospel at the end of this section? Because if you have the Gospel, then you can endure anything life throws at you.

Jesus said that His words will not pass away. The good news of Jesus, the eternal salvation that last forever based upon what Jesus did, His death, and resurrection, is available to everyone and it can be easily accepted. It’s secure. It’s not going away. You just accept it today. Will you do that? Will you make Jesus your Savior today?

[1] Jim Erwin, “A Living Faith That Matures,” James 1:19-27, sermon, 27 June 2021. Accessed on 28 October 2022.

[2] Jim Erwin, “A Living Faith That Works in Times of Temptation,” James 1:12-18, sermon, 20 June 2021. Accessed on 28 October 2022.

[3] Steven E. Runge, High Definition Commentary: James, High Definition Commentary Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 30.

[4] Paul A. Cedar and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, James / 1 & 2 Peter / Jude, vol. 34, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1984), 134.

[5] Jim Samra, James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude, ed. Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton, Teach the Text Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2016), 21.

Photo by David Beale on Unsplash


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