Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Facing Adversity

By Benjamin H. Liles

          I know I tend to focus on certain subjects in a biblical way: whether on the Holy Spirit, the book of Ezekiel, Christ, God, and so forth. Adversity and bipolar disorder have marked a greater part of my life. I've made my mind up as of today to do as God commanded Cain, "If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it" (Genesis 4:7, Holman Christian Standard).

          Granted, the context in which that verse is used is to show how angry Cain was that Abel and his sacrifice were accepted while his was not. That's not the case for me. But I want to focus on a small part of what God says to Cain and it has a huge impact for all of us: "[Sin]s desire is for you, but you must rule over it." That means the betrayal of divorce isn't final, you can be a victor not a victim. And that same goes with having depression: no matter how gray the veil is, there is light.

          The problem, as far as sin is concerned, is to have mastery over people. The first couple, Adam and Eve, were faced with it and they failed God terribly at listening to the command to "not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die" (Genesis 2:17). Ever since the day they sinned and went astray from God, being separated by their sin against Him we have all faced our fair share of adversity.

          Now don't get me wrong adversity and sin do not go hand in hand. Let me illustrate this fact. Just because a guy in a vehicle almost hit me while I was getting groceries for my wife has no hold on me, but on the guy who was sitting behind the wheel. Yes, I could have shown some mercy and grace by laughing it off, but how else would anyone react to almost being hit? Adversity affects us all regardless who is at fault. The problem is that sin crouches in the thick undergrowth like a leopard stalks it's prey. It seeks after those who are "entertaining" the idea of doing wrong.

          James records in his letter to the Christian church, "When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:13-15, Berean Study). In other words, we can be tempted into doing something, but if we keep entertaining the thought over and over, then it's upon us. This is the reason God warns all of us, not just some, "[This thing desire]s to master you; master it instead."

          However, we can strive toward a better way, by putting our thoughts, minds and attitudes in a better place, a better way through Jesus Christ. As He said to Peter and the disciples, "[There are things] which proceed out of the mouth...from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man" (Matthew 15:18-20, New King James). 

          Rather, there is a far better way of handling our trespasses, guilt, the conscience we all have that either condemns or exalts us. When we think of the noble things Christ endured on our behalf by going to the cross and dying for our sins can we even begin to hope our sins are dealt with. The big thing is that when those occasions come upon and seize us we go ahead and ask for His forgiveness: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9, Holman Christian Standard). 

          What we need to fully consider, in the body of Christ is we have one who has been there. He has been resurrected from death and the grave by the power of the Father as He did all that God commanded of Him. He paid the penalty of our sins. Therefore, we can take heart with Paul: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things" (Philippians 4:8, Berean Study). 

          Our pets can't redeem us, neither can our finances, our spouses, nor even our Christian family, save Christ Jesus alone. It is by Him and through Him can we do all things. I liken that Philippian verse this way: " Christ is true. Jesus is honorable. Jesus is right, Jesus is pure. Jesus is lovely. He is also admirable. Consider then that He is excellent and praiseworthy, and think on Him." As He is the One and only who shows us the way into everlasting life, let us boldly march on through adversity to reaching those heights only He can ascend. I pray this encourages and builds you up in Jesus Christ's holy and precious name. Amen. 

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