Adversity

By Dr. Ken Matto
 
(1 Pet 1:3-7 KJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, {4} To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, {5} Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. {6} Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: {7} That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
 
"Lord haste the day when the faith shall be sight." This prayer comes from the ever popular hymn "It is well with My Soul" by Philip Bliss who penned these words under one of the most tragic circumstances a person could ever face. He had lost all four of his daughters to the sea. No doubt Philip Bliss was in a state of shock and grieved mightily for his loss. Yet, in a time of great loss he was able to lift his heart to God and say it was well with his soul. He showed that he acknowledged that God is in control of every situation which comes into the lives of His children. He could also rejoice that if his children were truly saved, they were in heaven enjoying the beginning of eternal rapture. They did not have to face the heaviness of trials which face us earthbound Christians every day.
 
Our key verses tell us that God has reserved for every one of His children an inheritance in heaven. Not like the things of earth, which rust and fade away but one which is undefiled and incorruptible. Where could we ever find anything on earth which is undefiled or incorruptible? God has also told us here that we are kept by the power of God. The word "kept" in the Greek may also be translated "guarded." Is there a limit to the power of God? Of course not! If God is guarding us He will also guide us into His heavenly kingdom and He will fail not.
 
We rejoice in this knowing that our end as a Christian on earth is really the beginning. This is why Bliss could say it was well with his soul. The above Scripture also teaches us that we will experience various trials (manifold temptations) while we are on this earth. Is this God playing with us? Perish the thought because whenever God sends a trial into our life He is setting the stage to strengthen His children. God never brings a trial into a believer’s life to break them rather to grow them. Notice in verse 7 that the trial of our faith is more precious than gold. When gold is purified, it grows in value. Notice that the faith is tried by fire. Fire tends to engulf and envelop an entire item to completely purify it as it leaves no nook or cranny untouched. This is why God compares the adversity He sends to us to fire. He will also leave no stone unturned.
 
When the impurities of our faith are removed, then our faith grows in value to the point that it is the most valuable thing we own. What are some impurities which may affect faith: Unbelief, doubt, complaining, double mind, fear, etc. All these call in question the verity of God and if we harbor any of these attitudes, we can expect adversity from God to clean out the closet. In verse 7, we also see our faith may be unto the praise and honor and glory of God. This can only happen when we allow God’s refining fire to do it’s job in our life. How do I respond to adversity in my life?
 
1. Accept it - You have no choice. To resist may cause God to turn up the furnace a little bit more.
2. Learn from it - This is the primary reason for your trials.
3. Endure it with the power of God - Remember the martyrs of old, they endured the tortures and burning with it.
4. Realize it has a purpose - Do introspection as God may be bringing something in your life to the surface.
5. Realize it will have an end - Either God will end it here on earth or definitely in heaven.
6. Don’t feel sorry for yourself - God is specifically working in your life which means He will bring in a desired end for your benefit.
 
Many times we do not know why God brings trials into our lives, especially when we are going through them but we can always have confidence that God is working out His personal plan for our lives.
 
(Jer 29:11 KJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 
 
Till we meet at Jesus’s feet   (9/24/00)

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