PROBLEMS – Let’s Deal With Them
Paul deals with a thought that Christians have often used to explain the difficulties they find themselves in. Whether they be good or bad, it seems like we must have a “reason” for the “why” is this happening to me. To the Thessalonians he spoke about those who “…have no hope…” (1 Thes 4:13). Though he was dealing with a different subject, I thought about the differences between those of us who “have hope” and those who “have NO hope”…
Consider Paul’s portion of writing to “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: …” (Rom 1:7)
Rom 8:28-31 KJV And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Ownership of our lives… Though we claim to want to be in control, when things happen to us we do not really want to be the “master of our fate, our captain of our soul…” (William Ernest Henley, 1849-1903). Hence, we create a world where we often blame others for the problems we encounter. Some even blame God for the negative issues encountered as much as they rejoice when He causes good things to occur.
Regardless, there is a sense of “co-dependency” about us. It’s a crutch to look for a person to blame. Yet, many of the problems we encounter can be easily laid at our own feet, other problems can be attributed circumstances, and, yes, some can be laid at the feet of that Great Enemy of the soul. Regardless, we must look at problems straight on and understand the varieties of problems that exist…
We have even created a subtle form of spiritual codependency in church!! We let OTHERS take responsibility for what should be OUR responsibility! We want others to read our scripture to us, not the reading of it ourselves. Even the scripture reading on the screen takes away your responsibility of having your own Bible! Listening to sermons is second-hand knowledge; it can never replace first-hand study. It’s not enough to HEAR truth; you have to OWN truth. How can you OWN truth? You have to acquire it for yourself and not just take another persons word for it. You must dig up the truth! Consider that at some point children have to learn to feed themselves, else they will not survive! If you say “I’m not being fed” it’s YOUR fault. It isn’t your pastor’s job to study YOUR Bible!
I believe God has a purpose behind every problem (Rom 8:28-31) …
Let me deal with 4 types of problems.
They are typically consequences of choices made by YOU! Consider that even David understood that some of his own failures were directly related to his own issues.
- Psa 31:10 KJV For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.
- Psa 40:12 KJV For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
How do we Deal with TROUBLES? David provided a simple solution… Take ownership of your problem and go directly to God for assistance.
- Psa 18:6 KJV In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
Often we want to unload our troubles on others, almost as if expecting them to help us carry the load of our own mistakes. Let’s quit giving others our troubles and take ownership of them.
Satan tempts us to draw us away from God (Adam and Eve). Yet, he can only tempt us with things that we are apt to be tempted with. Consider each of these scriptures, individually and collectively.
- James 1:14 KJV But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
- 1 Cor 10:12-13 KJV Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (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.
- Mat 26:41 KJV Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Each of us have things that we are tempted by that the person sitting next to you have no struggles with. We are each very unique individuals. Where I have worked around businesses that sell alcohol, or have even sat at a meal with those who are drinking copious amounts, I have no temptation to imbibe. The same will be true about most of the other vices that are legal and illegal. Chocolate and Dr Pepper might be my biggest down fall…
Deal with TEMPTATIONS by Exercising – Submitting and Resisting
- James 4:7 KJV Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Submit to God can be easily seen as the opposite of Resiting the devil… Thus it is a form of exercise. Weight lifting has a good example of this. Letting the weight fall (submit) and lifting the weight up (resist). What strength we build up to the temptations when we continue the exercise the rest of our life – at some point the temptation is more easily resisted because we have built up strength to stand up to the challenge.
This form of problem can easily be described as “Hurts caused by sins of OTHERS.” The consequences of another persons action often create problems in our life.
- Jos 22:20 KJV Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? And the man perished not alone in his iniquity?
- Eze 15:8 KJV And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD.
- Luke 17:4 KJV And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Deal with TRESPASSES by RELEASING offenders
Jesus dealt with this in the next few verses following His teaching of the “Lord’s Prayer”…
- Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
- Mat 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Perhaps it is as simple as “turning the other cheek” but I believe it’s more than that simple action. Though we might never forget, that concept of continually forgiving others has great value.
- Mat 18:21-22 KJV Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? (22) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
To Peter, this must have seen a number that could never be reached. The next parable shows the result of accepting forgiveness from others, but not giving the same action to others. (Matt 18:23-35 – Don’t take my word for it, go read it for yourself!) We cannot selectively give forgiveness, and judiciously claim the right to hold others guilty of their trespasses… We must forgive all, all the time…
One way of looking at problems as if they are Trials – perhaps they are being permitted by GOD to draw us closer to Him
- Rom 5:3 KJV And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
- Jas 1:2-3 KJV My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
- Jas 1:12 KJV Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Deal with TRIALS by REJOICING in them
We are not to be like the ones who are Glorying in their trials and making it visible to all others, yet there is a rejoicing that happens during the trial that others who know what you are faced with will see – it will give them courage and strength to persevere in their own trials!
- 1Pe 1:7 KJV That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
I have several in mind as I think about this. They are facing problems that I consider are trials. Talking and walking with them through these issues give me strength as I watch them rejoicing through their trials! Their rejoicing is greatly beneficial to me as an example (2 Thess 3:9).
Consider that you have God on your side to help you through any problem.
- Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
It is wise to understand the issue you are facing in order to approach the solution in a proper manner.
- With God, you always get SOMETHING.
- With God, it is impossible to end up with NOTHING.