by John and Ruth Greene
“Since I was a young child, my sister and I had lived with my dad, a man of special firmness, kindness and love. He was a man that taught me sound morals and the importance of virtue. When my father died, I was shocked and angry. I felt that he had abandoned me in a time of greatest need. Now, my sister and I faced the prospect of living with an estranged mother, a party animal that focused on painting the town. I was forced to become a surrogate mother to my sister and my mother’s stepchildren. I spent much of my life struggling to overcome the anger of my ‘abandonment.’ Yet, the example of what I saw as polar opposites in my life helped me to chart the course of my life, how I would raise my children and ultimately helped me to find my faith.” (Ruth Greene)
Adversity is a prospect that you will face all your life. Hardship and affliction come to each of us, often for reasons that aren’t easily understood. In times like these, the words of Yahshua [Jesus] ring true: “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) Yet, in the next breath, He says; “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Even Yahshua [Jesus] bore adversity. Operating in the Will of YHWH does not keep disciples from adversity, nor was it designed to. The apostles found themselves in storms of adversity (Luke 8:22-25; Matthew 14:22-33) because they followed the example of Yahshua [Jesus] and dedicated themselves to the purposes of YHWH’s Kingdom. Genuine disciples today will experience similar trials of personal conviction and belief. Each day comes as a decision to stand firm through trusting in Elohim [‘God’] instead of man and self. Some days this decision is sorely tested. In a world full of distractions and pressure coupled with the weakness of your flesh, you can become rattled and distraught. (“Standing Strong Through Storms“; “Leadership & the Universal Authority of Messiah“)
An overwhelmingly popular view is that Elohim chastens, but even this can be a narrow view because it fails to take into account the attitudes and mindsets that each Christian has. A disciple of Messiah has a measure of answerability for personal conduct, as well as how and what he thinks. Even Christians can easily flounder in “stinking thinking” of the past or fall victim to the mind control of antichrist authority. It is common for sanctified disciples to operate in the flesh, to make their own errors in judgment that have consequences. Lives are often thrown into disarray. How quick we are to blame YHWH for our own foolishness and the foolishness of others! (“The Antichrist & the War on Reality“; “Being Set Apart Makes You Aware of Sin“)
YHWH cannot be blamed for all your problems, nor is He a janitor that cleans up all your mistakes. What you reap in life is often a resulting lack of trust in YHWH and His provision. As you focus on where you place trust, you need to focus on what attitudes and mindsets you may unwittingly adopt from the world around you. What you think seems innocent enough at first. Yet, what you briefly entertain in your thoughts can create a foothold in your life that you did not seek or desire. In the same way, how you identify with the world around you is often grounded in generations of influence, tradition and habit. (“Consenting to Fables of Men“; “Deceptions of Ages: How People are Deceived“; “Incentives of Deception“)
As Christians, it is easy to fail to recognize the role of strongholds of the heart and mind and how demonic attachments often cause a rift when you need to trust and focus on YHWH’s will and purpose. What Yahshua [Jesus] admonished becomes secondary because the issues and mindsets of the old man try to dictate your life and how you will react. Yet, Yahshua [Jesus] said that His yoke was easy and His burden light. (Matthew 11:30) Focus and trust is always the issue.
In the heat of life’s battles, adversity seems to disguise itself. Troubles in marriage, sickness, financial hardship and personal attacks come because you and I live in an imperfect world. The importance of adversity is how you will respond.
The first reaction when facing adversity is the tendency to look for escape. “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10, KJV) Withdrawing or fainting away is not the answer you should always seek. While running away from temptation is often a wise course (2 Timothy 2:22), the behavior of repeatedly fainting away is a lack of spiritual strength.
Adversity can be useful (Genesis 50:20) because trials teach you to how to be better equipped to handle spiritual battles. Battles in your life can help you to find the strength and consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Remember what YHWH has said: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 118:6, 7) Run to YHWH while you refuse to break rank or isolate yourself. Check your heart and if you have sinned, turn aside from that sin in prayer and commitment. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NKJV) Casting your concerns on Elohim is one aspect of your freedom in Messiah, because you give your worldly adversity to Him. When the ugly head of adversity rears its’ head, continue to cast your situation in the capable hands of YHWH. Yahshua [Jesus] has already won the battle for you when you press in with faith. You must continue to build yourself up by putting the Bible, YHWH’s Word in your heart and by going to Him in prayer. Don’t disconnect from Him. “For Elohim has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and of love and of self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7, ISR98)
Fighting a spiritual battle is the same as fighting a life battle. “Then submit to YAHWEH. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, HRB) Your belief, your trust is active and ongoing. Trust is your life and lifestyle.
“Is any of you suffering evil? Let him pray. Is anyone in good spirits? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, having anointed him with oil in the Name of the Master. And the prayer of the belief shall save the sick, and the Master shall raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he shall be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, so that you are healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous one accomplishes much. ” – James 5:13-16, ISR98
Never stop fighting the battle for your heart and mind. Your life shows the fruit of your spiritual battle, even on those days when you feel dry. “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Fortify yourself with the Word of YHWH as you continue with those who are sanctified to Elohim in your life. In short, adversity is trial that can empower you, even helping you to discover new purpose and meaning for your life! (“Holy Spirit 101“; “How to Receive the Holy Spirit“)