Written by His Grace,

Penned by:        Kevin K. O’Connor

Date Penned:    Jan. 21, 2005

Main thought: To examine the challenges and yet benefits of adversity.

 

The Purpose of adversity

 

James 1:1-4 1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.  2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

Most of us are familiar, especially parents, what happens to children when you heap on the lovin and neglect the discipline, some very spoiled, misbehaved kids! It seems that all living things need discipline, even plants and animals. I must have one of the most spoiled dogs around. She’s a little miniature pinscher and I just love her to death. But I don’t care who or what you are, if you get to close to her (my) truck while she’s in it, you’re going to know about it! Believe me, my truck sure knows about it because it is torn to shreds on the inside. Anyone who has ever seen her in these frenzied states wouldn’t believe that when it’s just the two of us, she’s a total love sponge.  Then there are plants too that reflect when they haven’t had enough discipline in their lives. While living on Kodiak Island Alaska, an island of great wind and rainstorms, builders would cut down some trees to build new homes thus exposing trees that hardly ever had to take the blunt of the storms. The result was that these tall mature trees that had grown up their entire life with other trees having taken the blunt of the storms, were not able to withstand the force of the winds and would easily blow down.

 

Adversity, which most people would do all they could to avoid, does something very beneficial for those caught in its wake. It deepens, enriches, strengthens, stretches, enlightens, and completes all those arrested by it. No wonder our Lord tells us “2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” Another good Word from our Father’s heart concerning trials and tribulations; James 5:7-11 7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

 

May God our Father help us if our lives have been so consumed with bank accounts filled with wealth or bodies filled with health that we have neglected the most important thing in life, Relationship with Him! How we are drawn to those who are pleasant to look at or who have disciplined themselves with their finances or with their communication with others BUT, we are totally missing the mark if we allow our hearts to get wrapped around these things. These things are like rings around the bull’s eye of a target. Sure, these things can be associated with the bull’s eye, BUT, they are not the bull’s eye. It amazes me how many books and radio stations are focused on the rings of health or wealth and yet are missing the most important truth of all, the bull’s eye of relationship with God in Christ our King. I honestly feel that if God’s people spent more time holding up Christ and not the outer rings of appearances, wealth, health, or position than people would truly become who we were meant to be and God in His way and time would develop these outer rings in our lives; 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:5-7 (in Context) 1 Peter 5 (Whole Chapter). So many people are going to have such an awakening in Heaven with those who had such fine appearances, wealth, and position here below compared to those who didn’t in this world. Just like our Lord said; Matthew 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:15-17 (in Context) Matthew 20 (Whole Chapter). God Bless every soul in this life who has had to endure hardship in this life! May Christ fill each suffering heart with the hope of joy that will be theirs in Glory through Christ our Lord!

 

Sometimes, we’re the ones used to bring adversity into other people’s lives. Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:16-18 (in Context) Proverbs 27 (Whole Chapter) At times such as this we need to use much care when used of God like an instrument of His to bring adversity into other people’s lives. Because, not only can iron sharpen iron if angled correctly, it can also dull another piece of iron if angled incorrectly. There are those who refuse to be an instrument of discipline into other people’s lives for one reason or another. Perhaps they’re afraid of doing it wrong or because they themselves haven’t had much discipline administered to them in their lives. Please note some more good scripture in this regard; Romans 13:1-7 1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. There are those who refuse to be the one administering the discipline but take note of God’s Word here in; Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:5-7 (in Context) Proverbs 27 (Whole Chapter) Then, there are those who find joy in administering adversity into other people’s lives and yet their own lives are more messed up; Matthew 7:3-5 3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:2-4 (in Context) Matthew 7 (Whole Chapter) 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3-5 (in Context) Matthew 7 (Whole Chapter) 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Matthew 7:4-6 (in Context) Matthew 7 (Whole Chapter) God alone is the One Who brings perfect balance into our lives. In all things there is a right and a wrong way. Even our speech can either bless or curse, take note of; James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:5-7 (in Context) James 3 (Whole Chapter) And while we can easily wound others with our tongue, we can also heal; Proverbs 25:11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:10-12 (in Context) Proverbs 25 (Whole Chapter) When we refuse to try and do that which is right, many times we are more guilty than those who are trying to do what is right and are failing. Proverbs 24:16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.  Proverbs 24:15-17 (in Context)  Proverbs 24 (Whole Chapter) Then there are those who think its easier to just let things be and do not get involved like the Priest named Eli who had two sons that acted wickedly and Eli refused to take action; 1 Samuel 2:29-31 29Why do you [f] scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?' 30 "Therefore the LORD , the God of Israel, declares: 'I promised that your house and your father's house would minister before me forever.' But now the LORD declares: 'Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.  31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line 32 and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man. God hates laziness! Notice what He says to the wicked lazy servant who could have at least put His money in the bank where it could have drawn interest. Matthew 25:26-28 (NIV) 26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28“ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.

 

Adversity, whether we’re the receivers or the administrators of it, can be difficult. But it’s through adversity that growth and maturity are gained.

 

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, [ Hebrew Sheol ] where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.  Ecclesiastes 9:9-11 (in Context)  Ecclesiastes 9 (Whole Chapter)

 

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the hard times that you allow in our lives. Teach us how to overcome each and every one unto Your Glory, Honor, and Praise. In Jesus, Glorious Name, Amen

 

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