Free from Want to Live in God’s Provision

欲求からの自由、神様の備えによって生きる自由 .pdf
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English Service on May 20

Messenger: Pastor Jim Allison


James 1:2-12


Free from Want to Live in God’s Provision


Hello again, everyone.  I’m glad you are with us, whether in person or online, to receive God’s word.  Last month we began learning from the New Testament book of James.  We started with the teaching that when God works in people’s lives, He sets us free from some things and free to others.  That is a pattern we can see in the way He interacts with people in the Bible, throughout history, and in our own lives.  


Scientists look at the natural world to discover patterns in the way things behave.  They find, for example, the way that a certain chemical interacts with your body can be seen, known, checked, repeated, and relied upon so that you can do things with it, like make medicine.  There is something similar in the spiritual world of faith.  When we choose to place our lives in God’s hands and trust Him to guide and empower them, we discover particular things.  Last time, we learned that He sets us free from self-centeredness and free to live for Him and other people.  As we continue through James, we will see how the Lord also sets us free from conflict with people to live in His peace, free from poor health to live in His wholeness, and so on.  


Today let’s focus on how God provides for His people’s needs.  He sets us free from want and free to live in His provision.  To be a Christian means to live out of the power of the teaching of II Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”  My prayer for this message is that God will teach us to let Him provide for our needs.  As we learn from our own experience how He does this, we will be formed more fully into people of deep inner peace.  We will learn to be content with what we have and be satisfied, aware that God is giving us enough to meet all our real needs.  It will then become possible for us to turn our attention to living for Him and others.


Let’s focus today on two particular types of need which we often feel.  There are others, but many of us may sense these two especially often.  One is the need for time, and the other is for material goods.  And these are linked with each other, as you may notice, in the expression, “Time is money.”  


When we feel that we don’t have enough of things like these, it is difficult to be at peace, isn’t it.  James calls being in such situations times of “trouble” (v. 2) that put our faith to the test (v. 3).  We talk about trials as troubles from the outside and temptations as trouble from the inside.  It’s not usually one or the other that we experience but both.  Nevertheless, let’s look now at the stress from the outside that we face when we feel our needs are not being met.


I remember what a Japanese friend told me soon after I moved to Hokkaido in the late 1980s.  The economy was booming, and there was a lot of money to be made.  Many people worked very long hours, often at their bosses’ direction, and the word karoshi came to be well-known.  My friend said something like “I wish I could cut my salary by 1/3 and my work time by 1/3 so I wouldn’t have to be so busy all the time, but I don’t really have that choice.”  Some of us today may feel that we either have to (a) over-work and always be rushed, stressed, and exhausted or (b) have too little work and always be afraid of not having enough.  Others may feel they would be glad to do any amount of work but cannot find an opportunity.  In the communities where God has placed us to live and serve, these are not just ideas to discuss but serious real-world matters, aren’t they.   


Yet the Bible’s God makes the bold claim that He can take the tests life brings and use them for His good purposes.  Under His guidance, they can become our chances to gain priceless treasures including “the strength to continue” (v. 3), reality-based hope that does not disappear in hard times, and all that makes a mature, Christ-like character.  


So He tells us that our natural instinct to avoid pain may not be our best guide.  He wants to help us learn to accept life’s tests with the knowledge that we need them and they can help us.  “The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work,” He says (v. 4).  So our desperate attempts to get away from trouble can at times even get in the way of God’s work to accomplish something of greater value through it.  As I’ve said before, when we feel our needs aren’t being met well enough, we may be too quick to assume that God doesn’t like us or is punishing us or something.  But it may be the case that our troubles are part of His design and plans, and He intends to turn them into blessings as we choose to leave them in His hands. 


Our God is not shy about sending His people out on difficult adventures when He knows we need it.  In fact, His way of developing faith in us is often by putting us in situations we cannot handle well without trusting Him.  As one of C. S. Lewis’ characters says about Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia stories, “He’s wild, you know.  Not like a tame lion.”  But when we are called to face life’s troubles, it is an entirely different thing from being left alone to provide for ourselves.  What God calls us to do, He will always equip and empower us to do.  That is His promise.   


Why does He do things like this?  Verse 4 continues, “Then you will be all you should be.”  The key word there is be.  (It doesn’t say, “have,” “do,” or “know.”)  That’s not a promise of a job or a certain amount of income, is it.  God is focusing here on the kind of person you are and the kind you let your life’s troubles change you into being.  It’s about character formation.  The way your personality is continuing to develop is very important to God, the Bible makes clear.  Only after saying this does v. 4 continue, “You will have everything you need.”  He will meet the needs of His people as we learn to put them in His hands.  


We can rest in that promise.  But it is not a call to laziness.  We are taught to stand firm.  In James 5:7-8a, we receive the command:


Brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord comes. See how the farmer waits for the land to produce its rich crop. See how patient he is for the fall and spring rains. You too must be patient. You must stand firm.   


Standing firm.  How can I do that?  Let’s think about time first.  The first step often may be the willingness to ask the hard questions about why I really have too little time.  If I am too busy because I have filled my schedule with things I want to do but God does not call me to do, I am making myself too busy.  I can’t blame God or “modern life” or anything else for that.  If I am busy because I don’t have the inner freedom to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t have enough time to do that now,” then just getting some extra time won’t help me.  I will quickly fill it with other things if the real problem isn’t with my schedule but inside me.  If the real problem is insecurity, time management techniques won’t be enough.  If I am driven by the feeling that I have to impress people by doing an incredible number of things well, I will not be able to slow down.  As a Christian, my commitment is to move through each day at God’s pace.  That’s part of living my life the way Christ would live it if he were Jim Allison.  That’s what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  Living by faith means arranging my schedule based on how I am called by God, not driven by fears, doubts, pride, greed, or whatever else may push me to over-scheduling or overwork.    


Next, let’s think about money.  If I am spending money on things I do not need and this habit is leading me or my family or my church into financial trouble, being willing to live more simply can be part of standing firm (5:8a).  If there is a job that could meet my needs but I refuse to do it because I don’t like that kind of work, I cannot expect God always to step in and raise my income level miraculously.  Standing firm and waiting patiently in that case could in fact be an “active waiting” type of thing like filling out job application forms and contacting people and praying a lot.  If I have enough money for my needs and more, then giving money to give others a chance to work instead of keeping so much for myself may be a way of standing firm.  That may be what it looks like to “wait for the land to produce its rich crop” (v. 8a).  That can become my chance to learn that God’s provision is not for me and my family so much as it is for us, our whole community, and all His world.                   

Now as we move toward the end of our time in God’s word, let’s go to Him in prayer.  


Loving Father, you tell us in James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift is from you.  So we come to you in prayer as the God who possesses all things, including the time, money, health, opportunity, and all that we need.  


Lord, we hear in various ways from our cultures that being busy and having lots of money make us important.  But you tell us something totally different, that “A believer who finds himself in a low position in life should be proud” and you have given him or her a high position (v. 9).  So we ask you to help us see ourselves as you see us.  Help us to know deep in our hearts that our worth does not come from our work or the money it brings, that you care deeply for each one of us no matter how much or little we have.  Enable each of us in financial difficultly to be a person “who keeps on going when times are hard” (v. 12a) because you tell us that that person will be blessed.  


God, if we are in an easier situation financially, help us likewise to see ourselves as you see us.  Help us realize that there are special dangers and risks to our spiritual lives that come along with money.  Make us remember that all we have and even we ourselves “will fade away like a wild flower” (v. 10).  And in light of that, enable us to understand deeply that our true worth lies not in what we have but who we are as your children.  


Whether we are rich or poor, busy or wishing we had more to do, whatever our situation in life, God, help us to live in your provision.  Liberate us from the fear of not having enough.  Help us to know you as the God of enough.  You always provide for your people in a way that matches our needs, and you help us to be free of greed and able to be satisfied with enough.  Help us spend each day knowing that you have committed yourself to providing for all our true needs.  Sustain us, and help us provide for each other all that we need.  Understanding that you are at work among us, help us to rest in you, stand firm in you.  When times are hard, help us to remember that, as you promise, after we have come through them, we will receive a crown.  The crown is life itself and you have promised it to those who love you (v. 12).  So for that we pray, that your name may be praised and we may become more and more the people you have in your best plans for us to become.  In Christ’s name, amen.           




Lewis, C. S. (2000). The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. New York: HarperCollins.

Warren, R. (April 15, 2018). “Making Space to Slow the Pace of Your Life.” Saddleback Church. Retrieved May 13, 2018 from https://saddleback. com/watch/living-with-margin/making-space-to-slow-the-pace-of-yo ur-life

Warren, R. (April 22, 2018). “Learning How to Slow Down.” Saddleback Church. Retrieved May 13, 2018 from with-margin/learning-to-slow-down


James 1:2-12

2 My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. 

3 Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. 

4 The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. 

5 If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn't find fault. 

6 But when you ask, you must believe. You must not doubt. People who doubt are like waves of the sea. The wind blows and tosses them around. 

7 A man like that shouldn't expect to receive anything from the Lord. 

8 He can't make up his mind. He can never decide what to do. 

9 A believer who finds himself in a low position in life should be proud that God has given him a high position. 

10 But someone who is rich should take pride in his low position. That's because he will fade away like a wild flower. 

11 The sun rises. Its burning heat dries up the plants. Their blossoms fall. Their beauty is destroyed. In the same way, a rich person will fade away even as he goes about his business. 

12 Blessed is the man who keeps on going when times are hard. After he has come through them, he will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. God has promised it to those who love him.


 ヤコブ書 1章2節〜12節















  “ 神は、あなた方を、常にすべてのことに満ち足りて、すべての良いわざにあふれる者とするために、あらゆるめぐみをあふれるばかり与えることができる方です。 ”













  a 働きすぎ、いつも急かされ、ストレスが多くて疲れてしまう

  b そんなに働かないけど、でも十分でないこと(持っていないこと)をいつも恐れている 






















   “兄弟姉妹達、主が来られるまで耐え忍びなさい。見なさい。農夫は、大地の貴重な実りを、秋の雨や春の雨が降るまで、耐え忍んで待っています。あなた方も耐え忍びなさい。 心を強くしなさい。”



























Lewis, C. S. (2000). The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. New York: HarperCollins.

Warren, R. (April 15, 2018). “Making Space to Slow the Pace of Your Life.” Saddleback Church. Retrieved May 13, 2018 from margin/making-space-to-slow-the-pace-of-your-life

Warren, R. (April 22, 2018). “Learning How to Slow Down.” Saddleback Church. Retrieved May 13, 2018 from slow-down