• Wayne Fox

Adversity causes us to Grow

Adversity causes us to Grow

Your response to this title is probably no way! Most of us have difficulty with the idea that adversity causes us to grow. When we look at what God’s word has to say about our suffering Paul and James both tell us that we should rejoice in our suffering. Romans 5:3–4 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope – James 1:2–4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We endure suffering perhaps but rejoice? Rejoicing during our suffering seems an unreasonable expectation. We are not masochistic we don’t enjoy pain. James says that we should rejoice in our trials because of their beneficial results. It is not the adversity considered in its self that is to be the basis of our joy. The adversity results in development of our character that should cause us to rejoice in adversity. God does not ask us to rejoice because; we have lost our joy, a loved one has been stricken with cancer, or a child has been born with an incurable birth defect. He tells us to rejoice because we believe He is in control of all circumstances in our life, and He is at work through these adversities for our ultimate good.

The Christian life is intended to be one of continuous growth. We all want to grow but we often resist the sometimes difficult process, and many times this process can be very painful. We focus on the events of adversity themselves rather than looking through the eyes of faith beyond the events to what God is doing in our lives. As the Hebrew writer tells us in: Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Christ’s death on the cross with His intense physical agony and infinite spiritual suffering of bearing God’s wrath for sins was the greatest calamity to ever come upon a human being. Jesus could look beyond that suffering to the joy set before Him. The writer of Hebrews said we are to fix our eyes on Him and follow His example. We should look beyond our adversity to what God is doing in our lives and rejoice in the certainty that He is at work in us to cause us to grow.

God’s desire for us is that we should become holy. God’s desire for us is that we turn away from corruption and sinfulness and strive to become holy. We should use our adversities to put away spiritual ignorance of our minds and place our affections on a holy and just God. God uses adversity to enlighten our minds about our own needs as well as the teachings that we find in Scripture. He uses adversity to reign in our affections that have caused our unholy desires and to subdue our stubborn and rebellious wills. We resist the adversity God’s brings into our lives. We shrink from God’s discipline instead of seeking to profit from it. In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus, in the Beatitudes, tells us how blessed we are when we display various attributes. Blessed could be translated happy are joyful. Matthew 5:3–6 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. These descriptions refer to the Christian who has been humbled over his sinfulness. Who mourns because of it and yearns with all his heart for God to change him. We cannot adopt this attitude without being exposed to the evil and corruption of our own hearts. God uses adversity to accomplish this. God goes deeper than just specific sins that are in our lives. God gets to the root the cause of the sin that’s in our life. The corruption of our sinful nature is manifested in the rebellion of our wills. We are more desirous of relief from the adversity than we are of its profit in our holiness. Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

What growth in your holiness have you experienced in the adversities in your life?

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