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February 4, 2021
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February 18, 2021
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I Love Adversity?

These teachings are now available in 30 minute videos at our YouTube channel at 721ministries.org.

‘Cause, tomorrow’s another day. And I’m thirsty anyway. So bring on the rain.[1]

I do not like adversity. I think my top goal each day is to avoid discomfort of any kind. I like things to go my way. I like things to work out nicely—for me, and for everyone who matters to me. So yes, I must confess, comfort is an idol for me.

But too much comfort makes for a soft Sam. Too much comfort makes for a passive Sam. Too much comfort makes for a spoiled Sam. Too much comfort makes for a “King of his Castle” Sam.

We have been looking at Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes, and how, looking back, he found his life to be so meaningless. You may think Solomon was a great king, but he was perhaps the worst king in the history of Israel. Does this surprise you? Just consider this:

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. (1 Kngs. 11:4-6)

What a collapse; what a fall from grace. And why? At least partly because he never faced any pain or adversity. Solomon, it turns out, was a sorry, stupid king. He was soft, he was passive, he was spoiled, and he was most definitely “King of his obscenely large Castle.”

If you read about Solomon’s life, he faced practically no adversity. He inherited the power and the peace of his father David’s kingdom. David had done all the fighting for him. He inherited the riches of David’s kingdom, because his father had done all the fighting for him.

Recently I decided to get back into at least some strength training. So I signed up with a personal trainer. He immediately put me through a challenging program of weightlifting with 1 # barbells. He made me do 2 pushups and 5 sit-ups at a time!

Oh come on, no one will grow stronger like that. We must challenge our bodies, at least to some degree. I am no longer a prisoner to the, “No pain no gain” approach, but we obviously will not grow without adversity.

This is why Peter would say:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 

And why?

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Pet. 1:6-7, bold added)

This is why James, Jesus’ little brother, would say:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds …

And why?

… because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (Jas. 1:2)

This is why the writer of Hebrews would say:

My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
          and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, (Heb. 12:5)

And why?

… because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. (Heb. 12:6)

Therefore:

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. (Heb. 12: 7-8)

And why?

… God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb. 12:10-11, bold added)

Yes, later on it absolutely will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace—which is what we all are searching for, whether we know it or not. And it will bring you closer to Jesus—which is what we all are searching for, whether we know it or not—when you turn your focus from your pain, to your best friend and Savior.

Therefore I encourage you to, consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. Use it as training for an overflowing harvest of righteousness and peace.

[1] Bring On the Rain”
Song by Jo Dee Messina

Another day has almost come and gone
Can’t imagine what else could go wrong
Sometimes I’d like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war

‘Cause, tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

It’s almost like the hard times circle ’round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated and I might hang my head
I might be barely breathing but I’m not dead, no

‘Cause, tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

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