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How to Keep Pressing Ahead in the Face of Adversity

Written by Chips Blog on . Posted in Chip Ingram

<p><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><br /> There are times in our life when we get to the point that we say, &ldquo;</span><em style="font-size: 11pt;">I can&rsquo;t take it any more. I quit! I&rsquo;ve had it!&rdquo;</em><span style="font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Maybe you or someone you know is at this point. Perhaps they&rsquo;ve been diagnosed with terminal cancer, or you just discovered your mate is having an affair, or you&rsquo;re going through a painful and bitter divorce. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">In times like these, our mind tells us things like, &ldquo;<em>You&rsquo;ve got to trust God.&rdquo;</em> But deep down in our heart we&rsquo;re saying, <em>&ldquo;Yeah, I&rsquo;ve heard all that, but it&rsquo;s not working for me.&rdquo; </em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We might be &ldquo;going through the motions&rdquo; and appear okay to everyone else, but on the inside we&rsquo;re giving up and drifting further away from God. Sound familiar?</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">In the early church, Christians were suffering horrible persecution. At some point, they, too, wanted to give up and stop trusting God. So the Spirit of God spoke to the writer of Hebrews to encourage them and give them perspective in the midst of their suffering. We can apply the same truth to our lives today, no matter what we&rsquo;re going through.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Here&rsquo;s what he told them:<strong><em> &ldquo;<span class="textheb-10-32">Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering." (Hebrews 10:32 NLT)</span></em></strong></span></p> <p><span class="textheb-10-35"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 12pt;">So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!</span></em></strong></span><strong><em><span style="font-size: 12pt;"> <span class="textheb-10-36"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God&rsquo;s will</span>. Then you will receive all that he has promised.&rdquo; </span><span class="textheb-10-32">(v. </span><span class="textheb-10-36">35-36 NLT)</span></span></em></strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Most people miss the greatest thing in the entire world because they quit inwardly. They don&rsquo;t realize that God has a great plan and a great reward for them in <em>this</em> life <em>and</em> the one in the future. That&rsquo;s why we have to keep pressing ahead, no matter what.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We can have &ldquo;patient endurance&rdquo; even when going through the most difficult season in our lives. But to do this, we must get a basic understanding of adversity. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Here are three things to know about adversity:</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">First, people who are righteous and walking closely with the Lord still experience adversity in this world.</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;"> No one is exempt. But the good news is<strong> </strong>the Lord promises to deliver us as His children out of and through our afflictions when we believe and trust in Him<strong>. <span class="textps-34-19"><em>The righteous person may have many troubles,</em></span><em> <span class="textps-34-19">but the </span><span class="small-caps" style="font-variant: small-caps;">Lord</span><span class="textps-34-19"> delivers him from them all.</span> (Psalm 34:19)</em></strong></span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Second, God wants to transform your life through adversity.</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;"> Why? It produces character. There will always be difficult things that we must overcome in every season, and God wants to use every single one of them to develop your character. The Apostle Paul, a man who knew suffering, wrote about this in his letter to the Christians in Rome. </span></p> <p><span class="textrom-5-3"><strong><em><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&ldquo;We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;</span></em></strong></span><strong><em><span style="font-size: 12pt;"> <span class="textrom-5-4">perseverance, character; and character, hope.</span> <span class="textrom-5-5">And hope does not put us to shame, because God&rsquo;s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)</span></span></em></strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">When we keep pressing ahead, that&rsquo;s when the love of God keeps getting poured into our hearts. People who have suffered much and didn&rsquo;t give up, either outwardly or inwardly, have certain richness and strength about them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">As we endure, God changes us. We become more loving, kind, patient -- more like Christ. And that should give us hope. We don&rsquo;t have to try hard to be Christians! Our transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit, who molds and shapes us through our trials.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Third, we can take heart and remember that our sufferings and trials are temporary. </span></strong></p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&ldquo;<span class="text1pet-5-10">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.&rdquo; (1 Peter 5:10)</span></span></em></strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The things that are seen are temporal. And at some point we need to believe that now isn&rsquo;t all there is and there&rsquo;s a far bigger, eternal picture. God wants us to live in the now, in light of the forever. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">This week, we&rsquo;re beginning the series, <strong><em>Keep Pressing Ahead: How to Make It Through Anything.</em></strong> In it, we&rsquo;re going to build a biblical framework that will teach us how to think about adversity and pain. Join us during the next few weeks as we follow the path of Nehemiah and learn how he responds to adversity and refuses to give up. My prayer is that we&rsquo;ll become Christians who keep pressing ahead <em>no matter what</em>.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Keep Pressin' Ahead,<br /> </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 1.5;">Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor<br /> </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 1.5;">Living on the Edge</span></p>

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