Sunday school lesson – August 2, 2020

Advantages of Adversity

Ecclesiastes 7:14- “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other; to the end that man should find nothing after him.”

According to Ecclesiastes 7:14, God has deliberately placed prosperity and adversity side by side. It is not the adversity itself that has the control over the adversities that come into the lives of believers, it is a loving God. God had the final word in Job’s life, and He does in our lives too.

With the above in mind, we could say this, “Trials are to be viewed as opportunities not obstructions.” James challenges us in James 1:2 to “Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations. (trials)” Trials, difficulties, and hardships are seldom put upon us by God as punishment. Our tough times most often come from God with worthy purposes. Trials are to be viewed as opportunities, not obstructions. James 1:12 says, “Blessed, happy, to be envied is the man who endureth temptation.”

The truth is this: the victor’s crown goes to those who have been given adversities as opportunities to trust the Lord Jesus to show himself strong in their behalf. As the song writer puts it, “If I never had a problem, I’d never know He could solve them.” So, what are the advantages of adversity? Why count it joy when we enter the storms of life? Why rejoice when life tumbles in on us?

1) Adversity jolts us out of our comfort zone. Trials can shock us back into reality. It is in the midst of the storm that we can most clearly measure our spiritual progress. If we are not forced to see our shortcomings, we won’t ever feel a need for growth.

2) It is the adversity of turbulent circumstances that we develop Christlikeness. James 1:3 assures us that testing times produce in us endurance and strength of character. We will always grow when we trust the Lord during hard times. We become mature, well balanced Christians as we yield body, soul, and spirit to Christ during adversity.

3) As we are perfected during difficult times, we not only experience personal growth and honor our Lord, whose servant we are, but we also increase our positive influence on others. Like fruit, that which is ripened in the field is much more delicious than that which is picked and shipped green. We “ripen” in the crucibles of life. As we mature, we are more apt to brighten the corner where we are.

As you are facing troubling times, read James 1:1-4 then flip back and read Hebrews 12:2-3. See Jesus! He is our leader. He is our source of faith. He is our example. Do you recall the pain and the shame that he endured as He faced hostility and grievous opposition? Compare what you are going through with His agony when He poured out His own blood on the cross. He did not grow weary, lose heart, and quit in His dark hour of adversity and neither will we as we trust in Him.

Trust Jesus as you endure trials. Count it all joy when you fall into troubled times. Rejoice that God will never leave you nor forsake you. He is busy in your adversities conforming you into His likeness.

Yes— there are advantages to your adversity.