WHAT IS ADVERSITY?
(By: Paul A. Cummings)
I have been thinking a lot about adversity lately. I have come to be a believer that adversity is quite often that thing that purifies our lives. For instance, we so often become occupied with what in essence amounts to trivial and vain things. They become built up around us like walls... Then adversity visits our lives and when dealt with correctly, it brings us to that place of clarity.
All of our so-called interests become diminished and we're left with that which really matters - God, family, loved ones. A good case in point is Kosovo; I imagine they have reached this common denominator. However, God has also shown me that one can self-impose adversity upon himself... I believe so many people do this day-in and day-out. The drug user's lifestyle has adversity built in - prism sentences, broken promises, broken hearts, and a myriad of other disappointments. The sexually immoral has Aids, S.T.D.'s, as well as the above.
(Paul with daughter)
The person who has lived an unrewarding lifestyle for years and has tried another lifestyle, Christianity, which holds promise before them, yet they stay in their unhappy lifestyle for whatever the LAME reason. So many go back to what they know, when what they know just hasn't worked. Do they expect a different outcome from doing the same thing? The problem lies in one of two things. 1) A person has to be introduced to a better way of life in order to do better... 2) Once a person is introduced to better, he/she must apply themselves to that better way. So the crux of the dilemma resides in one's will, one must will to do better (of course after the introduction to better).
The Bible's theme in Genesis as to the fall (the introduction of sin and man's fall from grace) is man has become impotent in his ability to come to God. He literally lost his will to come to God, the ultimate better. Likewise, his ability to do better. Most people want to do better, (don't you?) and some for a short time do better... But without that ultimate better in our lives (God), most "betters" are short lived and unsatisfying ...
Check out Matthew chapters 5-8, which is known as the Sermon on the Mount. In it, Jesus tells us what type of people we are, what to do, and what not to do. What to expect and what not to expect from life as well as our psyche' s. In the last paragraph he paints a picture of adversity. However, he begins by saying, "Blessed are you if you put these things (what I've talked about here) into practice." Then he goes on to paint the picture. In this picture he speaks about adversity as a natural occurrence but that in cleaving unto His teachings we will bear up under life's adversities and in turn persevere victoriously.
Most people are not living with Christ as their Lord, or His teachings as their standard. If you're not, what is your Lord? What is your standard? (It's been said, what controls you is your Lord, so, what has your Lord and standard accomplished for you?) Instead, they are likened to people who are adrift at sea with no bearing, not knowing where they will end up. They are already in a horrible condition, adrift, in adversity. Then a storm comes up and they're in more adversity. This person is always living in the economy of catch up - never reaching the Land that Christ holds out before them. Let us give no more time playing catch up; instead, let's take Christ's hand and let Him be the Lord of our lives. We've fouled them up long enough doing things our way, lets throw in the towel and admit we've failed.
Let's begin where we can begin, with ourselves, for each person can only make the decision for him/herself. Let's discontinue trying to save everyone else, that's God's job! If He needs our help, He'll let us Know, He's God right?
MAKE YOUR DECISION FOR CHRIST TODAY!
JESUS DID IT! - or - JESUS DID IT!
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