Adversity

With the issues in my own family and the world around me, I pondered the ways most of us try to handle adversities. We watch the lives of those we love as they go through hardships, and we find ourselves dropping little hints to expose the nature within them in our desire to see them happy. They share their sorrows and their hopes with us, and then we can’t help but connect some of the problems they have with the nature we see in them. We believe it is the adversary of their happiness and we want to expose that character that is creating the problem and cheating them out of their desired peace and happiness.

At times, we see the handwriting on the wall and we understand it. We see the devastation brewing that will break their hearts, their marriage, or their relationships. We see a certain nature that has destroyed relationships and damaged lives in the past, and we feel compelled to warn that it is the little foxes that spoil the fruit on the vine leaving one’s life in devastation. What are we Christians supposed to do to help each other see ourselves as others see us? Surly we are not supposed to stand by and just watch every situation play itself out. Surly we are not destine to be blind to our own fleshly nature while others see it clearly.

Our fleshly nature can only be changed by the Holy Spirit; but we must recognize that the Holy Spirit works through people. We should be careful that other Christians are not afraid they will hurt our feelings if they try to open our eyes to our adversary. We don’t want them to be afraid that we might not be able to recover just because some don’t. We don’t want our church body to be afraid to voice their view of us for fear that a possible war will develop and they will not be able to deal with the wrath to come. We should not make ourselves untouchable, instead we should submit ourselves one to another in reverence of Yahweh (Eph. 5:21).

Christians should not be afraid to share a word of caution in love. They should trust the Holy Spirit when they find themselves in situations where their friendship is at risk or their spiritual mentality is being challenged; both parties may need to learn and grow.  Christ said, in Luke 12:2, “[T]here is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.”
We need to trust the Holy Spirit as he works through other people to help us see ourselves.  We cannot mature in spirit if we put up a wall of defense every time light is shed upon our darkness.  We should be patient and kind till our change comes.

Surly we can draw strength from the meaning of these two parables given by Christ: “The seed is the word of God [coming through people]. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil [the adversary: fear, pride, greed] comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.  “No one lights a lamp [gives a word of truth] and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him”  (Luke 8:11-18 NIV).

Isaiah goes into great length to help us understand how we might grow spiritually, saying, “Learn [teach] to do well; seek judgment, relieve [go forward, be honest and proper] the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for [hold a controversy with] the widow.  Come now, and let us reason together [convince, correct], saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land: But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword [the Word of Truth]: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it” (Isa. 1:17-20).