Trials, Troubles, and Adversities

TRIALS, TROUBLES, ADVERSITIES

 

DEFINITION A trial is an examination by testing. Biblically, it is a test of faith in which you experience trouble or adversity.  Trouble is sometimes referred to as “tribulation” in the Bible.  Adversity is similar to trouble, meaning extremely unfavorable experiences.

FACTS ABOUT TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND ADVERSITIES:

A trial is not a temptation.  A temptation is something that entices you to sin (see the topic of “Temptation” in this database).  A trial is an adversity you are experiencing that tests your faith.

Trials, troubles, and adversities are experienced by all believers.  In fact, the apostles taught believers that they would only enter the Kingdom of God through adversity (Acts 14:22).  Peter said not to consider it strange or unusual when you encounter trouble (1 Peter 4:12).

God uses both positive and negative experiences for your good.  Joseph told his  brothers:  “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).  The Apostle Paul declared:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)

 DEALING WITH  TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND ADVERSITIES:

Expect to experience adversity.  Peter said not to be surprised by  it (1 Peter 4:12-16).  The apostles taught the early church that it was to be experienced as part of living in the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

Pray about your trials, troubles and adversities.  The Bible says that God has promised to hear before you call and even while you are yet speaking  (Isaiah 65:24).   Confess your total dependence on Him.   Instead of asking “What am I going to do in this adversity?” ask God, “What are You going to do?”

Immerse yourself in the Word of God.  The Bible brings comfort and direction during trials, troubles, and adversities.

Use your spiritual weapons.  Trials, troubles, and adverse circumstances must be faced with your spiritual weapons.  Study Ephesians 6:10-18.  See also “Spiritual Warfare” in this database.

Remember that good things comes from God.  If something comes to rob, steal, or destroy in your life, do not blame God.  It is from the enemy.  Jesus said:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).   James said:  “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:16-17).

Remember that there is divine purpose in adversity.  Your faith is being refined (1 Peter 1:6-7)  and spiritual qualities are being developed in your life:  “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope”  (Romans 5:3-4).

Focus on eternal benefits.  The Bible indicates that trials actually work for you when you are focused on the eternal benefits of the trials instead of the temporary problems: Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal”  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Rejoice in times of adversity.  The Bible commands you to rejoice and give thanks to God in times of adversity.   You may not feel like doing this, but do it as an act of your will    (See 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-17).  You do not give thanks for the adversity, but in the midst of and in spite of it.

Remember these six “p”s of adversity.

  • Purpose:  God has divine purpose in your trial.
  • Profitable:  Your trial is profitable if you submit to God and trust Him.
  • Presence:  God will be with you in your trials.
  • Prove:  Your faith will be proven by the difficulties.
  • Produce:  Your trial will produce positive spiritual qualities in your life.
  • Perspective:  You will emerge with a new perspective.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND ADVERSITIES:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20)

But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.  (2 Chronicles 15:4)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  (Joshua 1:9)

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. (Psalm 22:11)

The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. (Psalm 25:17)

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)

I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.  You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. (Psalm 31:8)

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7)

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.  The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.  (Psalm 34:6)

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:17-19)

May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion. (Psalm 35:26)

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,

because they take refuge in him. (Psalm  37:39-40)

For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. (Psalm 40:12)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

…call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.  (Psalm 50:15)

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.  (Psalms 59:16)

Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.  (Psalm 69:17)

In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.  (Psalm 86:7)

He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (Psalms 91:15)

Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. (Psalms 102:2)

Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless.  With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies. (Psalms 108:12-13)

Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.  (Psalm 119:143)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. The Lord will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalms 138:7-8)

I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.  (Psalm 142:2)

For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. (Psalms 143:11)

If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! (Proverbs 24:10)

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand  and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  (Isaiah 41:13)

Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. (Isaiah 49:13)

… no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. (Isaiah 54:17)

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.  (Isaiah 65:24)

The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,  strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.  (Acts 14:22)

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  (Romans 5:3-4).

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:35-39)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6-7)

… that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. (1 Thessalonians 3:3, NKJV)

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:16-17).

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. (James 5:13)

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  (1 Peter 1:6-7)

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.  However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Peter 4:12-17)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  (1 Peter 5:7-10)

Study the story of Job–especially chapters 1-2 and chapter 42–to understand more about the purpose of trials.

Rejection and Abandonment

REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT

 

DEFINITIONThe original meaning of the word rejection was to throw back.  Rejection occurs when a person or group of people excludes an individual and refuses to acknowledge or accept them.   Abandonment is a similar term, meaning  to desert someone, to leave and never return.

FACTS ABOUT REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT:

Rejection takes many forms.  It may occur through the ending of a relationship, unrequited affection for someone, losing a job, or  through criticism.  Feelings of rejection also can arise from emotional or physical abandonment by friends or family or close relations such as a parent or a spouse.  Failure to achieve a goal like being accepted by a college or hired for a job can also cause feelings of rejection.

Reactions to rejection may include disappointment, anger, sadness, depression, and feelings of isolation and abandonment.  Rejection may cause you to stop trying because of fear of rejection.  You may experience feelings of inferiority and develop a critical spirit towards yourself or those by whom you were rejected.  You may have difficulty in forming relationships because of rejections experienced in the past.  Feelings of rejection can actually cause you to miss God’s plan for your life when you withdraw to nurse your wounds.

You are not alone in your rejection.  Many people in the Bible experienced rejection.  The Old Testament prophets were often rejected and disrespected.  They ended up in lions’ dens, pits, and were martyred.  Joseph, whose story is recorded in Genesis, was rejected by his family and his brothers sold him into slavery. Moses experienced repeated rejection before Pharaoh.   In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was stoned by one group of people, run out of town, and escaped with his life by being let over the wall in a basket.   Peter and John were imprisoned and  Stephen experienced the ultimate rejection–he was martyred after preaching one of the greatest messages recorded in the New Testament.   Everyone experiences rejection.  It is impossible to go through life without feeling rejected at some time.

God experienced rejection.  In Numbers 14:11 the Lord asked Moses:  “How long will these people reject me?  How long will they not believe me, with all the signs which I have performed among them”  (Numbers 14:11, NKJV).

Jesus experienced rejection.  The prophet Isaiah said concerning Jesus:  “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces  he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).   Jesus came to His own people and they rejected him (John 1:11) and He was rejected in His own hometown (Mark 6:4).  Like Jesus, you will be rejected because you are not of this world (John 15:18-19).

DEALING WITH  REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT:

Pray about your rejection issues.  Turn your disappointment, hurt, anger, sadness, depression over to the Lord.  Ask Him to heal your wounded emotions.  The Bible directs us to give thanks in everything, so thank God that He is guiding your life, even through the pain of rejection and abandonment.

Determine that you will live by faith.  Rejection is a feeling, but we do not live the Christian life on the basis of feelings.  We live by faith in God.  We do not live in the natural.  We live in the supernatural.

Permit the power of the Holy Spirit to work in your life.  As a born-again believer, the Holy Spirit dwells within you.  Just because you feel rejected, you are not incompetent.  You are fully equipped, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish all that God has called you to do:  “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Know that you are who God says you are.  Regardless of what others think about you, as a believer you are who the Lord says you are.   You belong to the family of God (Romans 8:16).  You are so valuable that Jesus died for you (John 3:16).

Know that you are really never alone.  Jesus said “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).

Do not view rejection as a negative thing.  If you have made Jesus the Lord of your life, then He is guiding each aspect of your life.  The fact that you are rejected by a person, group, job, college, etc., may be part of His plan for you.  God guides us through closed doors as well as open doors.   The Bible says that “all things” work together for your good when you are a true believer who loves God:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”  (Romans 8:28).

Use rejection as a cause to examine yourself.  Honestly assess your actions, attitudes, and responses to others to see if there is a legitimate reason for being rejected.  For example, if you were rejected for a job was it because you did not interview well?  If you are repeatedly rejected by others, could there be reasons?   If you discover legitimate reasons for rejection in any area, correct these with the help of the Lord.

Do not let rejection hinder you from fulfilling your destiny.  God has a plan for your life.  Perhaps rejection has blocked the way you were planning to go, but if your goals and purposes are God-given, you will still achieve them–perhaps just not in the way you thought.  Do not let rejection stand in your way.  Get up and try again.  You never truly fail unless you stop trying, and it is always too soon to quit!

Overcome your fear of rejection by putting God first.  When the disciples were imprisoned and threatened by the authorities because of their stand for the Gospel, they declared:  “We must obey God rather than men”  (Acts 5:29).

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT:

Read the story of the woman at the well in John chapter 4.  Because of her lifestyle, this woman had obviously been rejected by society, as she came to draw water when no one else was there–perhaps to avoid the feelings of rejection and the gossip.  Jesus accepted her as she was and changed her life.  She overcame her feeling of rejection and became a powerful evangelist–she brought the whole city out to meet Jesus.

… for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 14:2)

How long will these people reject me?  How long will they not believe me, with all the signs which I have performed among them.  (Numbers 14:11, NKJV).

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17)

For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. (Psalm 94:14)

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118:22)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me  were written in your book  before one of them came to be.  (Psalm 139:13-16)

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:9-10)

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?Though she may forget, I will not forget you!   See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.  (Isaiah 49:15-16)

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces  he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  (Isaiah 53:3)

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Matthew 5:11-12)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;  the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? ” (Matthew 21:42)

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”   He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And he was amazed at their lack of faith.   (Mark 6:4-6)

He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me. (Luke 10:16)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’  (Luke 13:34-35)

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  (John 1:10-131)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  (John 14:16-18)

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  (John 15:18-19)

We must obey God rather than men.  (Acts 5:29)

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:16-17)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.  (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace  that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.  (Ephesians 1:3-8)

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him–  you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”    (1 Peter 2:4)

Authority

AUTHORITY

DEFINITIONAn are your boss in the workplace, your spiritual leader, the government of your nation, and law enforcement officials.authority is someone who is set over you in a structured environment for specific purposes.  Examples are your boss in the workplace, your spiritual leader, the government of your nation, and law enforcement officials.

FACTS ABOUT AUTHORITY:

You are set free in Christ, but still under authorityChrist sets you free from sin, guilt, and condemnation, but not from God’s authority and the authorities ordained by God.

Authority provides positive structureIn the home, community, church, the workplace, and government, authority provides structure within which you can live your life confidently.

All authority is from God.  When you rebel against legitimate authority, you rebel against God:  “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-3).

DEALING WITH AUTHORITY:

You must obey authoritiesBecause all authority is from God, you are to obey instead of rebel.  When you rebel against them, you rebel against God Himself  (Romans 13:1-3).

When authorities conflict with God’s Word, you must obey God.  When ordered to no longer preach about Christ, Peter responded:  “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29).

Pray for those in authority“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”  (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Respect the authority set in the churchGuidelines for functioning under authority in the church are given in 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-12; and Hebrews 13:17.   If you cannot respect the leadership in a church because of their ungodly conduct, find a new church!

Respect the structure of authority set in the homeA godly husband is to be the head of the house, the wife is to follow his lead, and children are to be obedient.  The authority  in the home is to be loving and kind, not demanding and harsh.

Lovingly exercise authority over those for whom you are responsible As a parent, spouse, pastor, employer, or public servant, you are to loving exercise our authority in a Christ-like attitude: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21) .

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT AUTHORITY:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1-3)

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.  (Hebrews 13:17)

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority,  or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.  For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. (1 Peter 2:13-15)

(See also “Submission” in this database.)

 

Attitudes

ATTITUDES

DEFINTION:  An attitude is how you think about and respond to something or someone.

 

FACTS ABOUT ATTITUDES:

Bad attitudes can be learned behaviors.  For example, your parent may have been prejudice against a certain race of people and taught you to have the same attitude.  If you were raised in a critical environment, you may develop a critical spirit.

Bad attitudes can result from negative experiencesFor example, if you are a black man who was assaulted by a Mexican, you may develop a negative attitude towards all Mexicans because of your experience.

God is concerned about attitudes.  Christ’s teachings in Matthew 5, known as the Sermon on the Mount, confirms this when He declares that we are to be meek, merciful, peacemakers, etc. The Fruit of the Holy Spirit that is to be manifested in your life are attitudes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Your attitude should always be Christ-like.  In any circumstance and towards any person, a believer should always manifest positive Christ-like attitudes.

DEALING WITH ATTITUDES:

Take responsibility for your attitudes.  You will never be able to conquer sinful attitudes until you stop blaming them on others.

Ask forgiveness for bad attitudes.  Ask God to forgive you and ask forgiveness from those who were impacted by your negative attitudes.

Ask God to develop the Fruit of the Spirit in your life.  These include “… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).  Put off your bad attitudes and put these on!

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ATTITUDES:

Attitudes in general.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Attitudes in the home.

Wives, submit to your husband as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:22-29)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”-which is the first commandment with a promise–“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)

Attitudes towards Christian brothers and sisters.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus… (Philippians 2:3-5)

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,  older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

Attitudes on the job.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.  And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.  (Ephesians 6:5-9)

Attitudes towards authority.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1-3)

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.  (Hebrews 13:17)

Attitudes towards those who have wronged you.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Attitudes towards those of other races or socio-economic levels.

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?  (1 Corinthians 4:7)

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.  But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.(James 2:8-9)

Attitudes towards the unsaved.

…snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (Jude 23)

Assurance

ASSURANCE

 

DEFINTIONAssurance means to be convinced of something, to have absolute faith in it.  Biblically, a lack of assurance causes one to doubt their salvation as well as other spiritual works God has done in their lives.

FACTS ABOUT ASSURANCE:

Lack of assurance is doubt and is generated by Satan.  He will even try to make you think you have committed the unpardonable sin, but God’s Word says that if you come to Him, you will be received  (John 6:37).  You also can be assured that:

-Jesus paid your entire sin debt and obtained your full pardon:  Colossians 2:13-14.

-Your pardon is based on God’s grace, which always exceeds your transgressions: Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:20.

-God does not hold your past, present, or future sins against you as long as you ask forgiveness:  Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:19.

-Forgiveness is extended to all who believe in Jesus: Acts 10:43.

-Forgiveness is available to believers who sin: John 1:9.

God’s grace in forgiving is not an invitation or license to continue in sin. Rather, it should instill in you a passion for righteousness and living a holy life:  “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness”  (Romans 6:15-18).

Assurance is not a matter of applying human logic.  It is a matter of faith.  You simply believe God’s Word and rely on it rather than your own thinking (Proverbs 3:5).

DEALING WITH ASSURANCE:

Believe that you are saved because God’s Word assures it.  Read John 3:16; Romans 10:9; and 1 John 1:8-10.

Understand that a lack of assurance comes by feeling.  But you are not saved by feeling. You are saved by faith.  Satan can tamper with your feelings, but he cannot void the work of God in your life.  Determine that you will serve God even if you never “feel” anything that confirms your experience.  Your eternal relationship with God is not based on feelings, but on faith.

Read the Word of God consistently.    The better you come to know God through His Word, the more you will trust Him completely with your salvation and other spiritual matters.  See Romans 10:17; John 7:17; and 1 John 5:13.

Confess your sins to God.  Disobedience can result in lack of assurance about your spiritual status in God (1 John 1:8-10 and Proverbs 28:13).  Pray the model prayer daily which includes a petition for forgiveness of sin (Matthew 6:9-13).

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ASSURANCE:

Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  (John 1:12-13)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  (John 10:27-28)

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor 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.  (Romans 8:38-39, NKJV)

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 1:6)

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.(Hebrews 3:14)

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.  But my righteous one will live by faith.  And if he shrinks back,  I will not be pleased with him.”    But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.  (Hebrews 10:35)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you,  who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

And this is what he promised us–even eternal life.  (1 John 2:25)

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

(See also “Doubt”, “Faith”, and “Unbelief” in this database.)

Anxiety and Worry

ANXIETY AND WORRY

 

DEFINITIONAnxiety is the state of being troubled with fearful, distressing thoughts and worrying about real or imagined problems.

FACTS ABOUT ANXIETY AND WORRY:

Anxiety and worry express unbelief.  Anxiety and worry are manifestations of a carnal nature expressing doubts in the ability of God to handle situations.

Anxiety and worry do not change anything. Through fretful thoughts you cannot add one hour to your life, so why worry?  (Luke 12:25-26).

Anxiety and worry affect your health. Anxious, worried people may suffer nervousness, sleeplessness, headaches, and panic attacks–the long-term effects of which can affect vital organs.

Anxiety causes you to lose spiritual focus.  Anxiety changes your focus from the eternal to the temporal.  Your focus is to be on the Kingdom of God, not the  things of the world (Matthew 6:28-34).  The Bible warns, Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap”  (Luke 21:34).  “That day” is speaking of end-time events and return of the Lord.

DEALING WITH ANXIETY AND WORRY:

Ask God for forgiveness.  Anxiety and worry reflect unbelief that God is able to handle the situations in your life.  Ask forgiveness for unbelief.

Address why you are anxious and worried.  Like David, question yourself:  “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?”  Then, whatever the reason for your concern, tell yourself by faith: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and  my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you …” (Psalm 42:5-6)

Boldly declare that the Lord will help in any situation causing worry.  He is your source of strength (Philippians 4:13). “So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be seized with alarm-I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6, TAB).

Cast your cares on God.  The Bible says to cast your cares on the Lord (Psalm 55:22).  The word “cast” implies a continuous action. You may cast your cares on God, yet anxious thoughts return.  When they do, cast again!

Pray and praise God instead of thinking anxious thoughts. The Word says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 4:6-7). Turn every anxious thought into a prayer, then praise God for the answer.

Do not worry.  This is a command, not an option (Luke 12:22-23).  Worry is focused on the future, and Jesus said not to think about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).  God designed the world to run on a 24 hour schedule.  Don’t violate this principle by worrying about the future.

Replace worry with the Word.  The Word of God is effective in dealing with  worry and anxiety.  Following are some excerpts to get you started.  In addition, go through your Bible and mark all of the promises of God and His faithfulness.  Review these when you are  tempted to worry.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ANXIETY AND WORRY:
Do not fret–it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him, my Savior and  my God. My soul is downcast within me;

therefore I will remember you … (Psalm 42:5-6)

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:19)

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)

The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.(Proverbs 28:1)

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  (Matthew 6:28-34)

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. (Luke 12:22-23)

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:25-26)

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.  (Luke 21:34)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6-7)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  (1 Peter 5:7)