7 ways to make the best out of adversity
Written By Judy Smith
Adversity can be defined as a misfortune, a state of hardship, or difficult circumstances. It seems everyone I talk to is in some sort of adverse situation. A spirit of hopelessness is in their conversation. People are just getting worn out with life. They are tired; Christian and non-Christian.
I am very well acquainted with adversity, but I have learned how to have victory over it, and in it. So let’s see if we can look at adversity with new eyes. No longer does adversity make me lose my joy or grow weary. The devil is a lie and he tries to destroy our faith, hope, and peace of mind. The Apostle Paul is a beautiful example of living in victory through adversity. He saw adversity as opportunity. In Philippians 1:12 Paul says, “But I wanted you to know brethren, that the things which happen to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” He learned how to use his suffering, and the way that he conducted himself, to witness for Christ and bring Glory to God!
In 2 Corinthians 12:10 Paul says, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecution, in distresses, for Christ sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” He knew how to think well and have a right attitude.
1. Paul found that adversity can promote the progress of the gospel. Paul’s circumstances removed barriers to the advancement of the gospel.
2. Adversity provides opportunities for witnessing. In Philippians 1:13 Paul was chained to a Roman guard 24 hours a day. What an opportunity to witness to a captive audience. For the two years of his imprisonment, Paul preached the gospel to the Roman guards, and anyone else that he had the opportunity to speak to.
3. Adversity produces courage in fellow believers. Paul said in Philippians 1:14 “… and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains are much more bold to speak the word without fear. They saw Paul’s courage and it witnessed to them.
4. Adversity proves the character of our friendships. In Philippians 1:15-18 we see that Paul’s goal was to deliver his message in a manner that would cause people to follow to Christ.
5. Adversity brings growth in our lives. Philippians 1:19-20 and Acts 12:5 illustrate that God works through both prayers of friends and through our personal determination. In spite of his imprisonment, Paul has an attitude of eager expectation.
6. Adversity purifies our motives. In Philippians 1:21 Paul evaluates all of his experiences through his life’s purpose as he states “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
7. Adversity prepares us to see life and death in perspective. (see Philippians 1:22-26) Life offers the most opportunity to serve the Lord more fully, while death offers the blessing of finally and completely knowing Jesus. We can’t lose!
Now that we have seen Paul’s principles for adversity, let’s see how we can fare adversity and have victory over it in our everyday life! Of course the most important thing is being in the Word every day and finding scripture about the type of adversity we are facing, and then praying the Word over our situation. In our prayer time, we must ask the Lord to show us what we are to learn in the situation, and what we need to change in ourselves or within our life.
We need to be faithful and involved in a church, and have the prayers and encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ. It never seems to fail that the messages, preached during that period of time bring us encouragement, teaching, and wise counsel. Worship and praise lift the oppression and fear that come with adversity. God indwells the praises of His children. We are to offer up a sacrifice of praise; whether we feel like it or not. Ask the Lord for wisdom, understanding, discernment, and revelation, and guidance every day; and never forget: this too shall pass! Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.
When we hear the news of problems in the world, when we face challenges that seem overwhelming, when we have problems that don’t seem to have solutions, we can feel hopeless. No matter how dark or depressing our circumstances, we can hope in God because 1 Corinthians 13:13 states that hope remains. In Acts 16 and Paul and Silas sat in stocks in a Philippian jail. They could have been in despair, but instead they sung praises to God. I have learned to do the same. I no longer lose my hope or my joy. Jesus is the source of hope. If we have hope we can be filled with joy and peace no matter is going on. Rejoice in the hope that God has given you. Proverbs 3:5-6 says that when we trust in the Lord with all our heart and do not lean on our own understanding, but in all our ways we acknowledge Him, He will make our paths straight.