Introduction: Challenging Days
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
To say that these past few months have been difficult would not be stretching the truth. In fact, I don’t even think we are close to the end. But don’t give up hope. Our God is still in charge and He has a plan to use every situation for our good. That is why we will be working with Charles Stanley’s Bible study on adversity for my first online discussion. If you haven’t purchased your copy to follow along. You can use the link on my Bible Study page to Christian booksellers.com and have it shipped right to you. If you prefer to just wing it and only use your Bible that is ok with me. I will try to share some of his highlights in my commentary.
A Prayer to Open Our Study
"Father, thank You that You are on Your throne and You are bigger than anything we are facing. Remind us that You work in Your own perfect timing, we ask You to go with us on this journey of discovery. Open our minds and hearts to Your inspiration as we learn Your will for our lives. I ask that you bless these ladies, and I thank you for the opportunity to share Your words with them.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen."
Lesson One: God Has A Purpose For Everything
To start us on our way, Charles Stanley asked us two questions that we will explore in this lesson:
Why does adversity come into my life?
What am I supposed to get out of it?
Adversity can come into our lives for a variety of reasons and there are some good reasons we have to deal with them. Here are just a few (in my opinion) I wanted to share with you.
It Gets Our Attention:
When adversity comes, we are forced to face problems and pressures that are too big for us to resolve. In this way, God gets our attention. We can’t continue to pursue our goals, tasks, and relationships in the same manner. We have to stop and evaluate our situation, ask God for wisdom, obey His Word, and trust Him to bring the help we need.
Troubles point out our weaknesses and prompt us to rely on God in ways that we wouldn’t unless we had significant needs. Christ’s invitation to those who are weary becomes very attractive during our troubles, Read Matthew 11:28-30
Mr. Stanley said Trials are a fact of life in this fallen world, for both the non-believer and the believer in Christ. Jesus said that God the Father “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).
Years ago, when I read this verse I thought of the rain as a punishment and the sun as a blessing. So, when the rain came into a believer’s life, I thought it was an explanation of why they suffer from illness or other calamities just like the non-believers. But it’s not that at all, you see rain can be a blessing if you are thirsty or if your crops are about to die. The sun can be a curse if you don’t have any shade from it. This verse is a reminder that all things (adversities) are in God’s control and can be used to get our attention.
Read Ecclesiastes 7:14 and Romans 12:2
It Invites Us to Experience the Power of God:
One of the ultimate purposes of adversity is to cause us to desire more of Christ’s power in our lives. Troubles reveal that on our own we can’t live in a way that honors God. We need to rely on God and receive His grace and power. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
The power of God is the hallmark of His kingdom. Jesus Christ didn’t bring a nice, fluffy, weak religion to the earth. He brought the powerful REALITY of God. In the kingdom of God demons are cast out, evil is destroyed, sickness is overcome, and the dead are raised, because life flows in abundance. Most of us have no clue about the kingdom of God and live in an earthly idea of God’s power, but it is real and can change your life when you experience the wonderful transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Adversity is the catalyst that causes us to tap into the power of God.
Read Matthew 22:29 and 1 Corinthians 4:20
It Strengthens Our Hatred for Sin:
The pain of adversity helps us recognize the deception of sin. We all sin. It’s a fact and part of human nature. Our world is fallen and corrupt because of sin. It is impossible to never sin. If anyone says that they’ve never committed any iniquity, they are outright liars. Our hatred of evil will increase when we realize how sin keeps us from living in a way that honors God and how it damages the lives of those we love. “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:15-18)
When our sin brings us adversity, we must see it for what it is and ask for forgiveness and know that our hope is in Christ and in His redemptive love.
Read 1 John 1:7-9 and Psalms 51:1-2 and Acts 3:19
It Prepares Us to Comfort Others:
One of the most valuable results of adversity is that through it we receive God’s comfort, which we can then share with others who face similar troubles. Now, is the time to help others, to be the light of the world. We need to recommit our lives to helping others. Right now, at this very moment, today; (not when we have the time or when it’s convenient) but here and now; we need to be the Lord’s hands and feet, here on earth. “Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
My husband and I have gone through some trying times. I was born with a birth defect. During the economic downturn in 2008, we lost our business and our family home in bankruptcy. The death of my father and both of my husband’s parents to cancer. And numerous other trials have each one made us better at our ministry. God had these things planed for us, so that we would understand the troubles of others, so that we could offer comfort in our shared grief and understanding of God’s blessings.
Read Ecclesiastes 4:12 and Romans 12:15
It Motivates Us to Cry Out to God:
Throughout Scripture, believers are instructed to cry out to God in times of trouble. God responds to the cry of His children when they suffer. “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles”. (Psalm 34:17)
It is hard for people to admit that they cannot solve a problem or overcome an obstacle. When we cry out it represents total, unconditional surrender. It is an act of desperation and it is a fervent expression of faith in God and trust in His goodness and power to act on your behalf. Your cry to God acknowledges God’s ability to do what no one else can do.
Read Psalm 3:4 and Psalm 145:19 and Matthew 14:30–31
It is Evidence of Spiritual Warfare:
A Christian must be aware of the spiritual battle that rages between God and the enemy, Satan. We need to learn to recognize that sometimes adversity comes in the form of spiritual warfare through three key things the enemy sends at us: deception, temptations, and accusations.
When the enemy sends deception your way, it is an attempt to deceive you into believing something that is not true, so you will fall into error. From the very beginning, Satan deceived Eve into believing that God’s Word was not true. In Genesis 3:4, the devil told her that she will not surely die as God said she would in Genesis 2:17.
Temptation often follows deception. First the enemy tells us, “You won’t surely die!”, then he makes the fruit on the forbidden tree look good to us. Since Eve accepted Satan’s deception (his lie), now the tree that she was not supposed to touch looked good to her. She was tempted (enticed) to sin because she allowed herself to first be deceived. Temptation is when we are enticed or encouraged to sin in one way or another.
The devil is known as the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10). He is known to take a believer who has done an embarrassing or gross sin in their past and continue to rub it in their faces and beat them down with guilt and condemnation over their past.
In the midst of these trials, do not become overwhelmed or yield to the temptation to give up. Guard yourself against the tactics and schemes of the devil. We have two weapons to deal with the deceiver, the Word of God, and to draw near to God. Dealing with temptation is a twofold process of resisting the devil and drawing near to God. The closer you get to God and spend time in His word, the more you become aware of His love, the less power temptation will have over you. Have faith in the work of the cross and know that you are forgiven and don’t look back.
Read Ephesians 6:11 and John 10:10
It is a Reminder to Pray for Our Authorities:
Praying for them makes practical sense. Our leaders can affect the conditions we live in and have an impact on our families, our churches, our workplaces, our cities, and our countries. When those in authority are obeying the will of God, it is easier to “live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Those who are in positions of responsibility are supposed to provide protection for those under their care. When there are failures in the life of a leader, his “umbrella of protection” weakens, and those who are under that authority become more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. As we experience the pressures of temptation, we should realize that those who are in authority over us are also undergoing temptations and are in need of our intercessory prayer.
Our nation is under attack from the devil and the persecution of God’s church in America is a very real threat. Now more than ever we need to be praying for our country, and for our leaders; praying that they and their families would be strengthened by Christ to courageously uphold biblical values.
Read 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 and 1 Timothy 2:1–2
Mr. Stanley wanted us to understand from the beginning that God has a plan and a purpose for the life of every person. So, as he said if your will is to do His will, then God would move heaven and earth to accomplish His plan for your life. Secondly God can turn things to the good for you regardless of the situation you are facing today. Romans 8:28 says “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”