Talking about Overcoming Adversity. I hear many, many Christians complain about how tough it is being a Christian today. They whine and grouse about how they’re being persecuted and how unfair life is. So I thought today I’d talk about adversity and dealing with it.
First of all what is adversity? According to the dictionary it is ”a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune” It’s not some temporary annoyance or a cranky neighbor or somebody in the store cutting in line. It sure isn’t somebody on the news Any Bquestioning Christianity and its role in modern life. It has to be serious, it has to continue for an extended period of time. So the questions I want to answer today are really ones that in my years in the ministry I’ve been asked.
Is God listening? Does He Enjoy punishing me? Will being faithful to God spare me from adversity? Is there any way I can avoid trouble and adversity? Any benefits to adversity?
There are times in my life when I’ve faced some sort of difficulty and I’ve offered up a prayer or two for relief, and well, haven’t gotten the immediate results I was hoping for. So I did occasionally wonder if God is listening to me, after all, I’m just a speck in the universe. There are several billion people living on the planet and I’m pretty sure there are millions of folks asking for help at the same time as I am. In addition to those who are in more serious trouble than I am, there are those who believe in the prosperity gospel asking God for a cash advance. Now since I don’t believe in or preach the prosperity gospel, I don’t think God puts them to the front of the line. I do however, wonder about those who are in real dire straits, like the single mother trying to support her children, or the family who heard their child is sick with cancer. So why would God even bother to listen to my troubles?
Is God Listening? Does He Really Care? We are told in 1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Yes we do have that confidence, however, there are some key words in that statement. “If we ask according to his will”, His will, not ours. Are we asking for selfish reasons? Are we asking for the right reasons? It’s at those times we have to ask, what are we really asking for, and will what we ask for bring glory to Him. Will others see Christ in us, if we receive what we prayed for.
So I have confidence that He hears me when I pray, but I still face troubles, I still have problems, I still face adversity, and I didn’t ask for anything selfish or to wreak havoc on an enemy. So my next question is:
Does God Enjoy Punishing Me? We read in Lamentations 3:33 “For He does not afflict willingly Or grieve the sons of mankind.” Now, I mean that verse is from a book of the old testament, which is specifically full of , wondering about why the Jewish people were going through so much trouble. Essentially it all boils down to, God isn’t punishing us, 90 percent of our troubles are due to our own actions. I’ll ascribe the other 10 percent to other people just being people and their actions that affect us. So, no God did not go through his contact list of humans and decide, today, I’m going to make this person’s life difficult. OK, I don’t think He’s actually punishing me, and I am a believer so then, maybe I need to be more faithful to His words. So then I ask:
Will being faithful to God spare me from adversity? In 1 Peter 2:21 “For you have been called for this purpose, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in His steps,” Now this is where it gets real interesting. You see, there are numerous preachers out there proclaiming that Christians aren’t meant to suffer. That if you are faithful, that if you tithe to their church, then God will bless you and keep you from all harm. Well, poppycock. For proof of this you only need to look at the history of the church.
The apostles were all, except for John, martyred. The next generation of church leaders were persecuted and many of them were put to death. Christians around the globe have been slain all because they believed in Christ. Christians around the world, good faithful Christians have suffered sickness, poverty, violence, and other calamities throughout time. What faithfulness does guarantee you is the ability to persevere and handle whatever adversity you face.
Well, if being more faithful won’t stop all my worldly issues, what can I do to help
Is there any way I can avoid trouble and adversity? Not in all cases you can minimize your exposure to adversity by paying attention to what you’re doing and making good, well-thought-out decisions. In Proverbs 16:17 – “The highway of the upright is to turn away from evil; One who watches his way protects his life.” I’m terrible at this. I often make decisions based on emotions rather than a carefully thought out plan of action. I have been known to leap before I look and that can cause major disruption of my life. It is very important that before we take action, that we pray for guidance. I’ve said that while I don’t pray for cash, I often pray that God will show me the way to make a living. To help me see a path I can take that can generate an income. Now that I’m old, I finally understand how important it is to just sit back and take my time before I act. Now over the years I have learned several lessons and that is one of the benefits of having faced adversity. I’ve learned that the answer to the question are there any benefits to adversity? is yes.
We find in James 1:2-3 – “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Whenever I face a problem, whenever I see some obstacle in my path, I know that if I just stay the course eventually things will get better. I’ve learned patience and that patience helps me to continue on. So many people today lack patience and they want to give up as soon as things get tough. People often have no foundation of faith, no solid belief that they can get better, that they can turn their lives around and so, sadly, many people now days end up taking their own lives. In 1 Peter 4:1 – we read “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,” But what does that mean for you and I. Many of those who consider suicide as the solution to their problems are in the pit, the absolute rock bottom of their lives. If we think about Jesus on the cross, how we was whipped, his flesh torn apart, nails were driven into his hands and feet, he must have been in so much pain and yet he forgave those who were torturing him. 1 Peter 4: 13 goes on to say “but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed”. At some point in time, each of us must realize that what we are going through is temporary. If we struggle with life, but never let go of our humanity and our Christianity then others can benefit from us. Remember our ultimate goals as Christians should not be a belief that he who dies with the most stuff wins. Our ultimate goal is to be able to spend our eternity in Heaven with the Father. When you are facing adversity or trouble in your life, feel free to use this little prayer I say:
Dear Lord Jesus, today has been a bear of a day. I feel like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet. It seems like everything is going against me and I just can’t make any progress in my life. I am thankful for my life and I do appreciate everything you have given me. I ask now that you send the Holy Spirit to me to give me the wisdom to handle the pressures and issues I now face. Thank you for saving me dear Jesus and thank you for always being there when I need you. Amen
That’s it for today, so until next time, remember as long as you have breath in your body; you have face any and all sources of adversity in your life. Never despair, never give up, there is always an answer and I hope and pray that you turn to Jesus to find it. Please tell your friends about this show, I appreciate it and if you get a chance subscribe to my YouTube Channel.. I’m going to be putting more videos up and remember each of us is called to live a true Christian life. See you later, God bless y’all and peace.