Essentials of Godly Success – 4
YOU KNOW YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A BAD DAY WHEN:
o You see a “60 Minutes” news team in your office.
o You call Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold.
o You turn on the news and they’re showing emergency routes out of the city.
o Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
o Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the highway.
o Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
o Your income tax check bounces.
o You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
o You finally remember the name of that person you promised to visit in the hospital–while reading the obituaries.
o You are informed that the car wash that you went to used steel wool sponges.
Everybody has these days to deal with.
Real Christianity has the answer for trials and tests
o The entire world lies in trials, tests and difficulties. No one on planet earth has it easy or is free from:
o Social problems
o Relationship problems
o Work problems
o Money problems
o Family problems
o Health problems
o Mean spirited people
o Evil people
o Curse of the fall
The whole world suffers under sin
o The creation groans
Romans 8:22 (ESV)
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
o Real Christianity acknowledges the fact that there are problems in life
o Christianity is not a pie in the sky entity
o But it’s also not a woe is me entity either.
o You are going to have problems because
o There is a devil loose on planet earth
o And he hates humanity
o He hates them because he fears them
o The devil doesn’t just hate Christians
o He hates saved and unsaved alike.
o The devil entangles…
§ Youth with beauty
§ The miser with gold
§ The ambitious with power
§ The learned with false doctrine.
o He is a mad dog loose on planet earth.
o He hates those that worship him. People are deceived when they say, ‘I am not afraid of hell because it’s just going to be one big party.’
o Hell is a place where no one has anything in common with anybody else except the fact that they all hate one another and cannot get away from one another or from themselves.
o Until God moves heaven to earth there will be problems.
o God does not leave us without a remedy
o Neither does God hide and pretend that real difficulties do not exist.
Hebrews 4:15 (AV)
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
o He acknowledges the difficulties and gives us instruction.
Handling Difficulties on Planet Earth: A User’s Guide
o Count It Joy
James 1:2 (KJV)
2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
o Definition: – ‘temptation’ – trial, test, affliction, or adversity
o Count it all joy when life gives you lemons
o Joy is supposed to be part of the equation when difficult sour situations confront you.
o The word ‘oxymoron’ is a term used In the English grammatical community.
o It is 2 opposites stuck together.
o ‘Poor rich kid’ is an oxymoron
o ‘Dumb genius’ is an oxymoron
o ‘Dry rain’ is an oxymoron
o ‘Joyful trial’ is an oxymoron as far as the world is the concerned.
o According to human thinking, those two words, ‘joyful’ and ‘trial’ do not go together.
o You are supposed to have a
o Sad trial
o Distraught difficulty
o Wailing wipe out
o To go along with ‘down in the mouth’ negativity
o The only way to go opposite the normal human experience is to embrace a spiritual word called ‘faith’.
o It takes faith to go against the world’s grain.
o In order to have joy when you are supposed to have sorrow, takes F-A-I-T-H.
o What do I mean by faith?
o It is remarkable that nowhere in the Epistles are believers ever encouraged to believe or to have faith. An unbelieving believer is an oxymoron.
o Urging believers to believe is a contradiction of terms.
o Faith is acting on what God said and that should be as natural to you as the air you breathe.
o Count it joy!
o Count it joy is acting on the Word of God
o Counting it joy is faith for trials.
o Most people want to have faith to get out of the trial.
o Notice that is not what He said – ‘You have faith now that you’ll get out of this trial.’ No, He said count it joy in the midst of it.
Counting it Joy won’t work if the trial is your own doing.
o Notice the phrase, ‘When you fall into………’
o Same idea as in this passage
Luke 10:30 (NKJV)
30Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
o ‘Falling into’ definitely implies that you didn’t initiate the trial with:
o Your own lack of wisdom
o It is funny how people on planet earth never get too old to learn some new way to be stupid.
ILLUSTRATION: In 1982, “ABC Evening News” reported on an unusual work of modern art: a chair affixed to a shotgun. It was to be viewed by sitting in the chair and looking directly into the gun barrel. The gun was loaded and set on a timer to fire at an undetermined moment within the next hundred years.
The amazing thing was that people waited in lines to sit and stare into the shell’s path! They all knew that the gun could go off at point-blank range at any moment, but they were gambling that the fatal blast wouldn’t happen during their minute in the chair.
Is this foolishness or what?
If the shotgun blows the side of your face off while you have your minute in the chair, would you call that a trial or would you call that something else?
o Would you agree with me that this is not what God meant when He said, ‘Falling into trials’?
o If you are broke because you will not go out and look for a job – do not call your situation a trial – call it sitting in the chair!
o If you are sick and you refuse to go to God’s Word or the doctor, do not call your situation a trial – call it sitting in the chair!
o If you marry an unbeliever, and things are hard in your marriage (and they will get hard). Do not call your situation a trial – call it sitting in the chair!
o If you will not read your Bible and act on what God said, – do not call your situation a trial – call it sitting in the chair!
o If you initiated the trial, then ‘Counting it joy’ will not help you because counting it joy is not the first thing you need to do.
o Repentance and asking forgiveness is the first thing you need to do.
You have to count it as joy because you are not going to feel joy.
o My wife Sharon had an annyueism some years ago – I did not feel joy.
o I felt grief.
o I felt sorrow.
o I felt pain.
o I felt death.
o In a severe crisis moment, you need help.
o The whole thing was a battle.
o Battled through her being life lined to the hospital (Day 1)
o Battled through the Neuro-Surgeon drilling a hole in her head to let off the pressure. (Day2)
o Battled through the 4 ½ surgery where they opened up her skull pulled her brain back – clipped off the hole that was bleeding and then put it all back. (Day 3)
o I did not feel any joy.
o Battled through the 2nd surgery where they put a tube through her head.
o Battled the vaso brain spasms that she had on Saturday where the only good thing the doctor could tell us was ‘cross your fingers’.
o She came through all of that and guess what?
§ I didn’t feel any joy.
§ I didn’t feel saved
§ I didn’t feel the Holy Ghost
§ I didn’t feel anything except sorrow, grief, death, pain.
o But on that Monday, driving to the hospital, I was on the highway and the Holy Ghost said something to my spirit – a verse of scripture. Ps. 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of The righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all.’
o I got to praising God, going down the road.
o The Holy Ghost helped me to ‘count it joy’.
o We are not Superman, we are not machines, we are not super faith hero’s – we are men and we are women – we have frailties and emotions and our own personal pile of stuff to overcome.
o But, in the midst of all of my inefficiencies the Comforter was there and He put us over!
o He was there to help steer me into fulfilling the Word.
o He helped me to count it joy.
o We have often thought that ‘count it joy’ means to just tough it out. We don’t quite voice that exactly but we kind of have that as an underlining thought
o Understand that this idea of ‘counting it joy’, is not something you work up in your flesh, in your darkest moment, at the midnight hour of your life, at the crisis point when the floodtide is at its highest point, the Holy Spirit of God is there to help you.
Isaiah 49:16 (ESV)
16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.
o God’s people are not without trial in this world – that is a fact – but mark this down; you are not without your God in the midst of those trials.
o We held on to that verse.
o When I got to the hospital, I wrote that verse and put it by her bedside.
o Sharon told me that verse helped her through. (she rolled over in the bed and look at that verse)
o Now we had more to go through and the Spirit of God was there to help us with that also.
The Attitude Factor
o Counting it joy is an attitude adjustment that occurs in the midst of trial.
o Attitude is everything
o The person that thinks that:
o It is a misery to be born,
o a pain to live,
o and a trouble to die, will not do well in trial
ILLUSTRATION: A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, baseball cap in place, toting ball and bat. He was heard to say, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world.” Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it and missed. “Strike one!” Undaunted he picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself, “I’m the greatest baseball hitter ever,” and he swung at the ball again. And again he missed. “Strike two!” He paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. Then a third time he threw the ball into the air. “I’m the greatest hitter who ever lived,” he said. He swung the bat hard again, missed a third time. He cried out, “Wow! Strike three! What a pitcher! I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”
o Attitude determines altitude
o Instead of woe is me it’s wow is me.
o The Bible constantly deals with maintaining a spiritual attitude.
o God is absolutely the most positive person you have ever met in your life.
o Just look at these verses:
2 Cor. 2:14 (NKJV)
14Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
Rom. 8:31 through Rom. 8:32 (NKJV)
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Rom. 8:35 through Rom. 8:39 (NKJV)
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
o Don’t have bad attitude, just because something isn’t happening for you right now does not mean it will never happen!
The Trial of Your Faith Produces
Some other things God wants you to know about trials
James 1:3 through James 1:4 (KJV)
3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
o The trial of your faith produces…
o In the world trials take away from the ungodly
o In God, you have the opportunity for trials to add to you
o It produces patience
o The primary difference between you and the world when it comes to going through difficult times is that the world is just ‘taking a licking for nothing’.
o For a believer, trials properly stood against, produces.
o In the Bible, patience and longsuffering are different words.
o Longsuffering means suffering long or putting up with.
o Patience is to persist in a thing undertaken; to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty or obstacles. It means to stay the same; to stay consistently constant.
o Many people throw down their Bibles and walk off when hard times happen, I know I have pastored some of them.
o You teach them what the Word of God says. You show them how to believe God in a certain area and when it does not happen as soon as they think that it ought to, they get offended and walk off.
o God wants you to know that trials and tests give you an opportunity to develop patience, to develop singleness of purpose, to develop an attitude where nothing moves you the longest day you live on planet earth.
o If the bad stuff can’t move you,
o If the pressure can’t back you off
o If the evil that men do, won’t make you quit,
o THERE IS NOTHING LEFT to move you!
o When nothing moves you, when you can stay consistently constant – that is patience – that leads you to maturity.
1 Cor. 15:58 (KJV)
58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
God’s people are not without trial in this world – that is a fact – but mark this down; you are not without your God in the midst of those trials.