Facing WOES

1Corinthians 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.”

Nobody likes trouble. However, God tells us in His Word to find joy in our trials…

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;” [James 1:2]

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” [Mat 5:12]

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” [Acts 5:41]

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.” [2Cor 12:10]

How are we to handle these verses? A solid biblical principle is this; When God gives a command, it’s within our ability to do it. If we SHOULD, the it is something we COULD.

Let’s examine 1Corinthinas 10:13 and see some very comforting truths…

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:”

First, we must recognize is that trouble comes to everyone, it’s WIDESPREAD. Any trouble, temptation or trial you will face will have been faced by others before. “…and there is no new thing under the sun.” [Ecc 1:9b]. There is comfort in the realization that no trouble is truly exotic. You’re not the first person to face trouble, nor the last. The main take away is this, we’re all in this together. The person that struggles with struggles often believes that they’re struggles are special. This mindset will only make things more miserable. We’ll never be able to “rejoice” if we believe we’re the only ones with trouble.

but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;

Next, Paul writes that no trouble is able to OVERWHELM us beyond our ability to endure. God won’t allow it. That’s what the verse says. There’s comfort in these words. God doesn’t remove the trouble, but He does limit it to your capacity. Some might say, “I wish God wouldn’t trust me so much.” I get it, nobody likes trouble. However, we need to remember that nothing worthwhile ever comes without effort. James writes, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” [Jas 1:3-4]. This, along with the teaching from Hebrews 12 shows us that enduring trials makes one stronger, more experienced and more capable. This growth then puts us into the position to help others in their time of crisis. It’s through this understanding where we can begin to find Joy in suffering.

but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Third, God will also provide the way of ESCAPE. Comforting words to be sure. There will always be a means of ESCAPE to all of life’s temptations. Here’s the key that is often overlooked; YOU MUST SEEK IT AND TAKE IT!!! We have to participate in our own rescue. God provides the way of ESCAPE, but it’s up to each of us to take it. This key principle helps us to understand the true nature of Grace. God provides the means, that’s Grace, we must take it and utilize it. God provides the ultimate way of ESCAPE from the penalty of death for our sins; Salvation through obedience to the Gospel. That is Grace. We must act upon this Grace by doing what is commanded in the way of ESCAPE.

Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love.” [2Peter 1:5-7]

Implied in 1Cor 10:13, and directly stated elsewhere, is the command for us to apply SELF-CONTROL. The reality is that SELF is the only control we have. We cannot often control what happens to us, but we can ALWAYS control how we respond to what happens. Our response to the troubles, trials & tribulations of life are within our ability. Is it any wonder that the word ‘RESPONSIBILITY’ has within it the word ‘RESPONSE?’ Taking Responsibility for what happens to us is vital to our finding joy. This is not to say that all trouble is our fault. Often times it is not. However, acting & responding to whatever happens to us is ALWAYS our responsibility. If God says we SHOULD, we must know that we COULD.

Being challenged in life is inevitable. Being defeated is a choice. As shown through our verse, we can see that we have the means and the choice to endure temptations, trials, tribulations, and troubles. When we take responsibility, when we take action, we will instantly begin to discover JOY.

Rejoice in the Lord always:

again I will say, Rejoice.”

[Phil 4:4]

Rock Bottom

Everyone has some trouble in their life, some more than others. It may be self-caused, natural causes or externally caused. Regardless of the source, living on this planet can be rough.

Another interesting fact about living on this planet; nothing stops when trouble comes. Bills keep arriving in the mail, landlords still want their rent and don’t get me started about what the grocery store wants when you load up a buggy full of food.

Just because the world keeps moving doesn’t mean that we’re not weeping with you in your sorrow, neither does it mean there’s no compassion.

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

[Romans 1:15]

Take, for example, Naomi. She was a young widow who was living with her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth. Back in those days it was very difficult for a woman without a husband. I can’t imagine that kind of sorrow, but we can study it and learn from it.

You see, Naomi was down, very down. You might say that she had hit rock bottom. We know she was down because of what she said to those back in Bethlehem;

“Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” [Ruth 1:20-21]

Her sadness was so deep that she wanted to be called ‘bitter’ which is also translated as ‘grieved’ in verse 13. “for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.” Can you imagine the depth of hurt that you would rather people call you bitter, grief or sadness? Her words conveyed no sense of hope. Is it any wonder she wanted her daughters-in-law to return to their father’s home? [1:8-14]

FACE THE FACTS

Naomi just presented them with the facts of the matter. That’s a good place to start I suppose. Many folks try to hide from the reality of their pain.

In another story, Joshua had to face the facts when Moses died. The Lord spoke to him and said, “Moses my servant is dead.” Yeah, Joshua knew that, they had mourned the death of Moses for 30 days [Deut 34:8]. So why did God tell him again? To face the facts. God had something for Joshua to do and it was time for him to get after it. God follows up His restating of the facts by saying to Joshua;

“now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.” [Joshua 1:2]

Naomi, Ruth and Joshua were in mourning, but life was still moving forward. No one expected them to forget their loved ones, nor was anyone telling them to ‘get over it’ not even God does that. However, what He does expect from all of us, in particular those that are in sorrow, is to keep moving forward. He wants us to keep moving toward Him.

It’s when we understand this that we can have a better understanding of Matthew 6:27; “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Christ then goes onto say;

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Mat 6:33]

He is saying, keep moving forward toward Him, and you will have the strength to discover joy again. This is what Paul learned with the trouble he faced while spreading the Gospel. He wrote to the Philippians;

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

[Phil 4:11-13]

With the help of Ruth, Naomi was able to face the facts and move forward. God retold the promise of Abraham & Moses to Joshua as motivation to keep him moving, and Paul found peace and contentment when he heeded the Word of God.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” [Phil 4:6-7]

Keep moving forward.

Does the Bible Answer Everything?

DURING A DISCUSSION with a 20 something, the question was raised, “do you really think that the Bible has answers for every situation of man?” I immediately responded with, “YES! In principle.”

What I mean by this is that the Bible contains principles that can aid us in working through any and every situation of life. The Bible is God’s revelation for man and contains His law, i.e. rules of conduct to govern man. (2Peter 1:21; 2Sam. 23:2; 1Cor. 2:7-13, Eph. 3:3-5; Gal. 6:2; James 2:12, etc.).  In fact, all Scriptures given by inspiration of God furnish man completely unto all good works, unto all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3). This tells me that God has made known to mankind His will regarding every situation a person might face.

God, the creator of us all, knows what is best for us. Shall the clay question the potter? Unless we consult with God how shall we direct our own steps [Jeremiah 10:23]? This direction, given in His law, governs our total conduct. Conduct is the meaning of the word “conversation” in Phillippians 1:27; “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.” KJV

The total of man’s conduct may be catagorized into five relationship areas: religious, political, economic, domestic, and social.

God reveals His Direction for our conduct regarding our relationship to…

RELIGION in the gospel: John 4:24 ; James 1:27; Romans 12:13; Heb. 13:2; Gal. 6:10.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth

GOVERNMENT (political: Rom. 13:1-7; 1Peter 2:13-14), to business (economic: Eph. 4:28; 2Thess. 3:10).

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

ECONOMIC (Eph 4:28; 2Thess 3:10;)

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

FAMILY (domestic: 1 Tim. 5:1-6; Eph. 5:21; 6:4).

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

COMMUNITY (social: Matt. 7:12; Luke 10:30-37).

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:

In the Bible, we can study God’s precepts and examples to learn how to direct our own steps. The conduct of many folks, good and bad, are recorded for our learning [1Corinthians 10:6,11; Romans 15:4]. God rejected sinful conduct and demonstrated His approval with conduct that was in harmony with His will. The conduct of their lives, exemplified in the scriptures, are aproved or disapproved according to the dispensation in which they lived.

We have a perfect example in Christ “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps: who did no sin.” [1Peter 2:21-22]. Never did He violate God’s law [1John 3:4], but in every respect His conduct was in harmony with the Father’s will. This mind that was in Christ we are to imitate [Phil 2:5-11].

With regards to the final judgment, when this world will be dissolved, what manner of person ought we to be? [2Peter 3:11]. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [1Pe 1:15-16].

The answer to the question is YES, the Bible does give us directions to face any situation in all of our relationships; Religion, Economic, Political, Family and socially. The Bible is God’s written instructions for mankind, His will for us.

So many people are walking around saying, “I know God has a plan for my life.” He does, yet many never bother to read it. God does have a plan for us, let us study it and do His will [2Timothy 2:15]. Most importantly, let us study His will on how to gain eternal life.

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. John 6:68