When The Heat Is On, Enjoy The Fire

Bible Book: James  1 : 2-4
Subject: Problems; Trials, Victory in
Series: James - Wagers

The following is an experience, that by necessity, every member of the human race goes through:

"Your world is dark, safe, and secure. You do nothing for yourself, and you're automatically fed, and waited upon. You meet no sharp objects, no pain, no threats. It's a fine existence. One day you feel a tug, and the walls are falling in on you. Your body is bent double, your limbs twisted and wrenched. You're falling upside down. For the first time in your life you feel pain. There is a pressure, that's almost too intense to bear. Your head is squeezed flat, and you're pushed harder, and harder into a dark tunnel. You hurt all over. You hear groaning sounds, and an awful fear rushes in on you. Your world is collapsing. You're sure it's the end. You see a piercing, blinding light. Cold, rough hands pull at you. Then, a painful slap bombards you. All the sudden you let out a "Waaaaahhh!"  CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'VE JUST BEEN BORN!!


Your birth was filled with trials. You went through a trial coming into this world. Your mother went through a trial bringing you into this world. Your father went through a trial paying for it.


From the time we're born to the time we die, we walk in a world where the highways are polluted with potholes of troubles, trials, and tribulations. The fact is that there are three kinds of people in the world: those going into a trial, those coming out of a trial, and those right in the middle of a trial. The blessed truth is that "God didn't send us in the world to get into trouble, but to get into trouble with us!"


James, under Divine inspiration of the Holy Ghost, knew that these things were going to happen. So, in these three verses, he spells out for us how that "When the Heat's On, we can Enjoy the Fire!" He admonishes us to:


James informs us that when we encounter these times we need not be discouraged, but encouraged. He says, that we can "count it all joy."

COUNT—a financial word(lit.): "to evaluate, or consider"


Now, these trials are not a joyful thing. However, we can still have joy in these times of trying. We're to "evaluate, and consider" what God is going to do through this trial.


"It doesn't matter what we're going through, it just matters that we're going through!"


He focuses upon the method of these trials, and we see that they are:

A. UNAVOIDABLE "..when ye fall into…"

These trials are a reality, they're unavoidable, and going to happen. Notice, he doesn't say "if" they come, but "when" they come.  We're going to face these times of trials, and testing.

 c.f. Job 14:1—"Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble."


Being a Christian doesn't exempt us from troubles, and trials. Christians get cancer just like non-Christians! There's a popular "religious" teaching today: "Once you become a Christian it all honey, and no bees; all flowers, and no trees." The truth of the matter is, that the better Christians we are, the more sever the trials we may have to face.


c.f. John 16:33—"In this world ye SHALL have tribulation…"


2 Tim. 3:12---"Yea, and all they that live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL suffer persecution."



Joseph was a man of unquestioned integrity. Yet, he was thrown into prison for a crime he didn't commit. Job was a blameless, upright man who feared God. Yet, in one day he lost everything, his family, finances, fortune, fitness, and his friends. Daniel was a man totally committed to God, who prayed three times a day. Yet, all he got for praying was a free trip to the lion's den.

Again, he's telling us that these trials are Unavoidable.


FALL INTO(lit.): "to unintentionally fall into the midst of something"


SAME WORD AS LUKE 10:30—story of the Good Samaritan -  "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves…"

This was certainly not something that he had planned on. He rounded the corner, and suddenly he was surrounded by unexpected trouble.

There was no warning, no time for him to run away. This is the message that James is giving about these trials. They are not something that we jot down on our calendar, or plan our week around. They just happen—they're UNAVOIDABLE!!, However, they're also:


B. UNPREDICTABLE "…divers temptations."


DIVERS(lit.): "various, multi-colored


PICTURE: of a polka-dotted piece of cloth


SAME WORD AS: I Peter 1:6---"manifold temptations"


Not only are these trials unavoidable, but they're unpredictable. Trials come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.


NOTE: James is writing to a people who knew much about persecution, struggles, and trials. They were the 'diaspora', the scattered ones,

who had lost their jobs, homes, and belongings. Today, we may not face the same trials these early Christians faced. Our "divers" trials may be the loss of a job, divorce, trouble with our children, financial strain, illness, death, or relationship problems ;however, notice the word James uses to describe these times—"temptations".


TEMPTATIONS(lit.): "testings, or trials"

The things referred to here are not temptations sent by God, but trials allowed by God.


c.f. James 1:13—"Let no man say when he is tempted, he is tempted of God.."


John Blanchard: "Trials are sent by God to make a person stand. Temptations are sent by the devil to make a person fall."

Whatever, the case may be, and whatever trial we may face, we need to realize that these trials are UNAVOIDABLE, as well as,



We must see that God arranges and mixes the colors and experiences of life, and we must RECALL THE METHOD OF TRIALS.


James now moves from the method, to the meaning for trials. He informs us that we can be confident of God's control in these times, "Knowing this…" And we see that these trials are meant to:

A. PROVE US "…the trying of your faith…"

TRYING(lit.): "to test, or prove"

PICTURE: of a young bird that will test his wings

IDEA: to prove whether or something is real


NOTE: In N.T. times this word was used to refer to the refining of gold. That gold was sent through scorching to prove it, and to remove all of the impurities. It was used to assess the purity of that metal.


1. Thus, James is teaching us a fundamental truth here: Trials are test of the toughness of our faith!


2. Many Christians attend church every Sunday, give their ten percent, take notes of the message, and walk very piously. It appears that they have a strong faith.


3. However, only trouble will tell how strong their faith really is.

"Faith must not only stand the test of time, but it must stand the test of trouble!"



A man, had encountered many problems in his life, causing him to drop out of church. He bumped into his pastor on the street, and told him of all his troubles. He said, "Pastor, it was enough to make me lose my religion." The wise, old pastor replied, "Son, it ought to have been enough to make you use your religion!"


c.f. Proverbs 24:10—"If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small."


4. God doesn't use these trials to make us BITTER, but to prove us, and make us BETTER.

Blanchard: "In testing you God is aiming at your development, Satan is aiming at your disgrace."


5. We may not know the why, where, and when of trials. But, we can know the WHAT of trials, for he's using them to prove us, and make us more of what he wants us to be. However, he also uses these trials to:

B. PRODUCE US "…worketh patience."

WORKETH(lit.): "to work out, to effect, or to produce"


SAME WORD AS: Phillipians 2:13—"..it is God that worketh in us…"


1. Thus, these trials are meant to prove us, as well as produce us.


2. Everything we face is a working process to produce us into what God wants us to be.


3. We might ask, "What do these trials produce?"


They work to wrought "patience" in us!

PATIENCE(lit.): "to stand up under, to endure"

IDEA: of one under pressure who stands his ground instead of escaping - "You may not understand trials, but you are to stand under trials."


4. God is wanting to produce in us perseverance, staying power, and strength for the journey.


5. They are meant to prove us, and produce us, may when we go through these times, REMEMBER THE MEANING FOR TRIALS.


James now concludes this section by informing us that every trial of life, that we face, has a two-fold ministry. There's the: 


PERFECT(lit.): complete, or mature"

IDEA: refers to spiritual growth, or maturity


1. God is in the growing business. The business of growing Christians.


2. Whatever comes in your life, good, or bad, triumph or tragedy, God is using it for the purpose of growing you and maturing you in the faith.



A young Christian was trying to get into the peach growing business. He worked hard, invested all that he had into that beautiful, blossoming peach orchard. When the frost came, it destroyed his entire crop. He proceeded to miss church for the next month. His pastor went to see him, and the young man said, "Pastor, I'm not going to church anymore. Do you think that I can worship a God who cares so little that he would let a frost kill my peaches?" The pastor replied, "God loves you more than those peaches. He knows that while peaches cannot grow without frost, Christians cannot grow without trials. You see, God is not in the business of growing peaches, but in the business of growing Christians.


3. These trials serve in the ministry of enlargement, growth, and maturity in our life as a believer. However, they also serve in the:


ENTIRE(lit.): "complete, fully equipped"



Just as a student goes to school to earn a diploma. He may fail a few tests, miss a few math problems, or get a couple of historical dates confused. All of that is necessary and incidental for him to walk across the stage and receive his diploma. So, too, in the Christian life, we must fail some tests, miss some facts. However, all along the way God is making us ready, maturing, completing, and preparing for that day when we stroll across the Heavenly stage, and receive our spiritual diploma.



A crippled woman came to her pastor, trembling, weeping, and said, "Why has God made me like this?" He wisely replied, "God has not made you, HE IS MAKING YOU!!"


You see, our loving Father is the master craftsman. We are the raw materials. Trouble and trials are the tools; character, and spiritual maturity are the product. Next time you face the tests, struggles, and trials of life, RECALL THE METHOD OF TRIALS, REMEMBER THE MEANING FOR TRIALS, and REALIZE THE MINISTRY IN TRIALS, and then "When the Heat's on, you must enjoy the fire!"