SERVANTS' MINISTRY, Inc.
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Adversity, Hardship was a BRIDGE in the life of Paul
The life of Paul is one of the best examples of how hard times can act as a bridge to a closer relationship with God. Without the supernatural revelations the Lord gave the apostle Paul, we would have far less understanding as to living the day-to-day Christian life.
Philippians 3:8-10 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (KJV) . . . Paul’s closeness to the Lord came only as the result of severe personal loss and hardship.
Through persecution, Paul learned:
#1. Contentment IS possible, even in the midst of adversity. Phil. 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (KJV) . . . Only when we can learn to be satisfied with what we have, will we be content!
#2. God WILL provide supernatural strength when we are weak, IF we really trust Him. 2 Cor. 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (KJV) . . . Paul’s faith allowed the Holy Spirit’s power to work through his life.
#3. The Lord is the Source for ALL our needs. Phil. 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (KJV) . . . We have abundant spiritual wealth through Christ Jesus, for Almighty God will supply all your needs.
#4. We can ALWAYS trust in the Lord’s faithfulness. 1 Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (KJV) . . . Paul had learned to depend on the Lord to carry him through ANY trial! Something that gives me comfort: Any time that God shuts a door, look around; you will find a window open! God will NEVER leave His people without hope!
#5. The Lord values service more than our desires. 2 Cor. 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (KJV) . . . Instead of satisfying Paul’s natural desire for comfort and ease, God sent adversity and persecution to prepare him for greater service. The Lord prefers to develop our character, rather than to give us comfort, for adversity and persecution makes us remember our weakness, and turn to Jesus for help. Continual comfort and ease makes us forget the Lord!
#6. In all trying times, God will give us strength to proclaim the Truth. Phil. 1:13-15 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: (KJV) . . . Because Paul was imprisoned, the entire Praetorian guard heard the Gospel. The more adversity and persecution we face, the more effective our message will be to others. Hard times can bring us closer to God, OR make us turn tail and run! Which is it for you?
#7. We should treat everything as if it is coming from the Lord. 1 Thes. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (KJV) . . . The Lord uses all that we experience, even when others wrong us, for His purposes in our lives. IF we stand firm in our faith, and embrace the circumstances that come our way as an opportunity to grow, it prevents our trials from making us resentful. The Lord will NOT leave you!
Heb. 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (KJV)
#8. We learn SO much about the Lord through trials. Suffering often motivates us to get closer to God, for without Him, we know we are nothing. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (KJV)
#9. Adversity and persecution prepares us to comfort others more effectively. 2 Cor. 1:3-8 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. 8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: (KJV) . . . There are two wonderful and true titles of our awesome God here! #1. The Father of mercies . . . what is mercy? It is: leniency, clemency, compassion, grace, pity, charity, kindness, forgiveness, love, sympathy, tolerance, consideration, understanding, patience, etc. God is all these marvelous characteristics all rolled into one! #2. The God of all comfort . . . What is comfort? It is: to console, to soothe, to raise somebody's spirits, or reassure; bring cheer to, to calm, to relieve, to relax, to support, to solace, to back, to bring peace to, etc. Again, God is all these marvelous characteristics all rolled into one! Do you see what an awesome God we have? God loves us! He cares for us! He will NEVER do anything that will harm you. Any adversity, difficulty, hardship, sickness, trial, tribulation, temptation . . . He allows so we can grow spiritually! ALL of us will experience what we think as bad things in our lives. Some have more than others. Hang in there! He will NEVER leave you, NEVER forsake you . . . EVER!!! TRUST HIM!!!
#10. God ALWAYS has a specific reason for allowing adversity. 2 Cor.12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (KJV) . . . Paul’s thorn in the flesh was intended to keep him humble and dependent on God, in spite of the astounding spiritual revelations he had been given.
#11. We CAN know joy in the midst of adversity. Phil. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (KJV) . . . This is a commandment to all TRUE Christian believers. Rejoice in the Lord always . . . no matter what time of day it is, or where you are! It means no matter whether it is a difficult time or an easy time! We are commanded to rejoice. It is SO important, that Paul repeats it, in case we miss it the first time: "again I say, Rejoice." Joy is something we cannot produce ourselves; joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22). My friend, there is NO power in a Christian's life if he has no joy. One who does not experience the joy of the Lord has no power at all.
Comment: In all probability, you are experiencing some kind of adversity or persecution today, if not today, then in the past, or you will in the future. You CANNOT handle it using your own power, but you CAN allow it as a path to deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. If you are a TRUE believer, the awesome power of the Holy Spirit is available to help you, and carry you through any suffering.
The bridge of adversity or persecution can take you to a place of incredible closeness with the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ if you let it. When adversity or persecution comes, and it will . . . run TO the Lord, NOT away from Him!
Anxieties, Hardships, Pain and Troubles,
Plague us in This Life on Earth
Trials in this Life on Earth
A Heart for God
Adversity, A Bridge to Paul
Adversity, A Bridge or a Burden
All People Are Called, Few Respond
Can I Win Over Drugs and Alcohol?
Causes of Hardships
Dealing With Anxiety
Describing a Heart For God
Faith, Different Stages
Faith, Progressing In
Follow God With Your Heart
God's Promises to the Persecuted
God Is Well Able
God of Promise
Hold Fast to the Bible
How to Maintain Hope In Adversity
Listening to God
Living Godly In An Ungodly World
Persecution of Christians
Reason For Persecution
Renewing of the Mind
Riches of God's Grace, A Treasure
Seeking God's Guidance
Seeking God, When He Cannot be Found
Seeking God, Today's Heresy
Seeking God, WHY Should I Seek God?
Temptation, God's Promise
Temptation, Guarding Against
Temptation, Preventing Backsliding
Temptation, Resisting Sin
Temptation, Responding To
Temptation, Satan's Goal
Testing the Faith
The Christian Life
Three Commands to the Wicked
Universalism and the World to Come
Waiting on God
Waiting on God, WHY Is It Wise?
Warnings in Romans Chapter 1