Summary: This message discusses principles that help us keep problems in perspective.
Adversity: Tightness, affliction, tribulation or trouble
Adversity can be our greatest motivation for growth, or our deadliest means of discouragement. The difference depends on our understanding of God’s purposes.
It is inevitable that each of us will experience Adversity and Trouble. Our initial response is usually negative and perhaps critical. We are prone to view trouble through the glasses of our own perspective and plans. When God was working behind the scenes to get Jacob in Egypt, Jacob’s response was “all these things are against me." (Gen 42:36)
God’s word assures us that “all things (including adversity) work together for good…” Ro. 8:28
How we respond to adversity determines to a large response whether it works for “good” or “evil” in our lives. Our natural responses are often prompted by the “Natural Man” that cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 2:14)
1. OUR NATURAL RESPONSE IS TO REMOVE THE SOURCE OF ADVERSITY; GOD MAY WANT TO USE IT TO REVEAL AREAS WHERE GROWTH IS NEEDED.
“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” William Penn
A. GOD USES ADVERSITY TO CATCH OUR ATTENTION. (Amos 4:12)
1) The cares of this world tend to distract us from the world to come. (Mt. 13:18-23)
2) When troubles come, it is often a reminder to look to God. (Ps 25:1,2)
"Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word." (Psa 119:67)
"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes." (Psa 119:71)
3) It often takes pain to get us to change. (Prodigal in Luke 15)
B. GOD USES ADVERSITY TO CONFIRM HIS LOVE. (Heb. 12:6-13)
1) God cares enough to confront us and conform us to the image of His son. (Ro. 8:28,29)
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." (Rev 3:19)
C. GOD USES ADVERSITY TO CALL US TO SELF EXAMINATION. ( 1 Cor. 11:31-32)
1) God wants us to prosper and to Fellowship with Him. He knows that unrepentant sin can soon become buried and forgotten. It will tend to “rot” our soul and keep us miserable and hinder our fellowship with Him. (Pr. 28:13; 1 John 1:7-9)
“It is trial that proves one thing weak and another strong. A house built on the sand is in fair weather just as good as if builded on a rock. A cobweb is as good as the mightiest cable when there is no strain upon it. “ Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)
D. GOD USES ADVERSITY TO CONQUER OUR PRIDE. (Pr. 8:13)
1) Pride is at the root of many of our conflicts.
"Only by pride cometh contention:." (Prov 13:10)
2) Pride puts us at odds with God. “God resisteth the proud…” Jm 4:6-7)
3) The only antidote for Pride is Humility. “God….giveth grace unto the humble.” Ja 4:7
E. GOD USES ADVERSITY TO HELP US CONSIDER OUR WEAKNESS. (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
1) We are prone to forget our frailty and work for God in the power of the flesh.