Thursday, September 5, 2013

Embracing Adversity

 
 Adversity is like taking a canoe trip without knowing how to swim, then realizing you are coming up on a waterfall. You either rise to the challenge and survive or you resist it and drown.
S.Mullin

"Adversity"

Adversity: n., pl. -ties 1. Great affliction or hardship. 2. A misfortune (Webster's)

 
How do you embrace adversity?
 
Ideally you would want to avoid adversity at any cost. I wonder though if we miss the greater blessing by not embracing it instead? You might would say that it is impossible to embrace it because you might die beneath the weight of it. You could be right or it is very possible you are wrong.
 
To me adversity is the will to survive combating the enemies desire to destroy me.

 
 
1) Have the right set of clothes on

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall  be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
 
Ephesians 6:11  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
 
Paul challenged us in Ephesians 6 to put on our armor each day. Armor such as a helmet, a breastplate, a girded loin cloth, proper shoes, a sword, a helmet, a shield. All these things he said we would need. If you meditate on it, all that "stuff" is covering for the front rather than the back.
 
Why is that? My opinion is that we are admonished to stand. No one stands with their back to the enemy. It is suicide to do so. We all face whatever opposition is coming face forward, right? Sometimes we might have our hands over our face peeping out between pinched fingers, but we do face forward. So, with this idea of facing forward I want to ask a question? Most of the men will know the answer and hopefully share their wisdom.
 
Have you ever seen a boxing match where one opponent or the other turns their back?
 
I don't like boxing, (go figure) but there is a lesson we can learn by identifying with them for a moment. When I have watched a boxing match with my husband, I have never seen an opponent turn their back on the other. I have an idea if they did so the match would be over immediately, because that opponent would have the upper hand. Each one is carefully studying the other to find that weakness will surface or what moment they can go for the kill, so to speak, the ultimate knock out.

I have seen one or the other grab his opponent in an embrace. Maybe to rest, maybe to throw them off guard. I couldn't really say. But I do know that they face their opponent head on and so must we. We have armor, we have weapons, we have Christ. Nothing should hinder us from meeting adversity face forward feet planted.
 
But Still...

 
We face a enemy far deadlier and craftier than any on earth could possibly be! There is a way to beat him at his game.
 
2) Know and  Recognize your enemies weakness
 
I Peter 5:8-9  Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
 
James 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
 
What is the enemy's one true weakness? I believe it to be submission. He has a HUGE problem with submission.

I'm not going to take the time to run through the I Will's of satan that led to his exclusion and expulsion from heaven. Let's just say he hasn't overcome it yet. He is still trying to interject himself over God and over His people. So that should tell you that he will not stick around a submitted person. Matter of fact,James said when you submit that he will flee from you, it didn't say  he would flee from God. That is a given already, satan will not stick around God, he's probably still feeling the sting on his backside from the kick out of heaven.
 
The trick is to beat satan at his game, by knowing his strategy, exposing his weakness! 
 
3) Discern when adversity is from the enemy for evil or God for good.
 
Psalms 35:15  But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:
 
 Adversity doesn't always come from our enemy (ies) sometimes it comes from God.

Whoops, I just messed up your roll on the enemy didn't I? So set down your gloves for a moment and take a break.
 
**hiccup** ****Gulp***
 
Yes, God sends adversity in our lives for a multitude of reasons. Correction, redirection just to name a couple.
 
The question remains, how do you know?
 
I believe that you will know based on the relationship you have with your Father God. If you have ears to hear you can tell whose voice is whispering in your ear.
 
Isaiah 30:20  And though the Lord give you the bread adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers.
 

So what is He saying here exactly?

 
Here Isaiah is saying, look God has given you bread of adversity and water of affliction, but He is going to teach you something with it. He is not going to give you this bread and water without showing you and telling you why. He went on to say in vs. 21 that they would hear a word behind them, saying this is the way walk ye in it. Did you catch that? The Word would be (Behind them)
 
Ah, now we see another reason for no armor on the backside. We have no need of it because the WORD who is Jesus is walking with us, behind us. God allows us to go through adversity. Some of you feel that is totally unfair, unjust even. I would ask you a question then?
 
Was it is unfair for Jesus to leave Glory because we sinned? Was it unjust even? In the grand scheme of things, beyond our ability to see clearly, the answer is unequivocally yes.
 

 It's was absolutely unfair that He would have to bear our adversity because of our willful sin. 

 
God is not trying to think up ways to torture, hurt or scar you. Adversity teaches us something about victory. Who would want to run a race, win a trophy and know you were the only runner? No one in the stands except the judge. Come on, we all like victory. We all like to win. It is innate in us to succeed and overcome.
 
Adversity comes along and gives us that little nudge we need at times to keep moving. Other times it comes as a ball peen hammer upside the head, making us come to a sudden grinding halt because we refused to do so on our own with the little nudge.
 
The point is that God has a plan, has a purpose and adversity brings out of us the will and the determination to overcome victorious. Embrace the challenge, rise above the stubbornness and allow adversity to grind out of you the mixture of laziness, doubt and unbelief. Whatever you do, don't faint, it's going to end I promise.
 
Proverbs 24:10  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small
 
Recap: 
 
1) Be clothed in the righteousness of God Isaiah 61:10
2) Have on your armor Ephesians 6:11
3) Know your enemy I Peter 5:8, 9
4) Identify the adversity Isaiah 30:20 / Psalms 35:15
5) Don't faint, falter or fear Proverbs 24:10
 
 
"Conclusion"
 
Our conclusion to adversity is victory! Pure exhilarating victory.
 
 


James 1:2,3 My brethren count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
 
 
I Bet you didn't know that asking for patience would get you adversity did you? Your key to victory over anything, is endurance. Paul said the race was to be run patiently. Meaning there is no quick end in sight.
 

It's a long distance marathon full of potholes, unforeseen enemies, outrageous obstacle courses. In other words, full of adversity, but it is a race worth running.

 
Paul stated that Jesus had run this race before us and won it and now sits at God's right hand cheering us on.

I Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


So my brothers and sisters in the Lord; whatever adversity you are facing today, embrace it, relish it. You have a victory ahead and Christ is cheering you on.
 
 

 I'm hid with Christ!
 
Shawn