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Joe Summers - April 14, 2024

Title: The Purpose of Problems: Embracing Trials for Growth

Title: The Purpose of Problems: Embracing Trials for Growth Do You Have Enough Problems? General Lesson Objective: We will understand that problems and trials are not just obstacles to be overcome but opportunities for spiritual growth. Scripture: James 1:2-4 (NIV) "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Personal Objectives: 1. Identify examples from the Bible where individuals faced challenges and grew in their faith and character. 2. Explain how problems can lead to greater dependence on God and empathy for others. 3. Reflect on your own challenges as potential avenues for spiritual growth and maturity. 4. Apply biblical principles to our lives, viewing problems as opportunities to deepen our faith and trust in God's providence. Introduction: Today, we'll explore the purpose of problems in our lives. It's natural to avoid difficulties, but as we delve into the Scriptures, we'll discover how challenges can shape us for the better. Biblical Reference: James 1:2-4 (NIV) "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 2 real life examples in song and prose a. Song by Andre Crouch that says through it all I have learned to trust in God. Without the trials I would not know what God could do b. Charlie Tremendous- When people came to him with problems and asked him for prayer he prayed that they would have more problems so they could learn to totally depend on God 1. Problems as Opportunities for Growth - Just as physical exercise strengthens muscles, trials strengthen our faith and character. - Example: Joseph faced betrayal by his brothers, slavery, and imprisonment. Yet, through these trials, he grew in resilience and wisdom, ultimately becoming a leader in Egypt (Genesis 37-50). 2. Problems Teach Us Dependence on God - In times of trouble, we realize our limitations and turn to God for strength and guidance. - Example: The Israelites faced numerous challenges in the wilderness, teaching them to rely on God's provision and leading (Exodus 16-17). 3. Problems Build Empathy and Compassion - Experiencing difficulties can cultivate empathy for others going through similar struggles. - Example: Job endured immense suffering, yet his friends' misguided advice deepened his empathy for others in distress (Job 2:11-13; 42:10). 4. Problems Produce Perseverance and Maturity - Overcoming trials develops perseverance, leading to spiritual maturity and completeness. - Example: The apostle Paul faced various trials, including persecution and imprisonment. Through these challenges, he learned to be content in all circumstances. Philippians 4:11-13 NIV I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 5. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Conclusion: As we navigate life's challenges, let's embrace them as opportunities for growth, relying on God's strength and wisdom. Remember, problems are not obstacles but stepping stones to a deeper faith and maturity in Christ. Problems are not just for you but maybe more importantly it is for others.

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