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Keep Pressing Ahead - Facing Adversity, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
October 18, 2023 6:00 am

Keep Pressing Ahead - Facing Adversity, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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October 18, 2023 6:00 am

What would happen if you began seeing your most difficult circumstances as a “friend” rather than an enemy? Chip shares how God can and will take your worst and use it for your best.


Let me ask you a tough question. What would it take for you to see your most challenging circumstance as a friend rather than an enemy? And now you're probably thinking, Chip, you're absolutely crazy, but pause. Some of the most challenging, difficult things you'll ever face God wants to use for good, but you have to see them differently. Today, we'll learn how.

Stay with me. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians.

In today's continuing our series, Keep Pressing Ahead. Now in this program, he'll reveal the frequent sources of adversity in our lives and how God's word equips us to handle anything we will face. But before we get going, if this is your first time listening to Living on the Edge, or you want to learn more about what we do, go to

You'll find tons of resources there on many topics and countless programs to enjoy. Or if you prefer, the Chip Ingram app is also a great way to get plugged in with our ministry. Well, here now is Chip with part two of his message, Facing Adversity from Nehemiah chapter four. I remember reading a book recently by a fellow named Oz Hillman, who was an executive in the Dallas area, I think at the time, or Atlanta, and had an advertising business and was making millions of dollars and living in a big estate and had everything that you'd think and was a very public Christian businessman. And within about six months, everything in his life went upside down.

Business, home, marriage, one of his kids, everything. And he wrote in his book, adversity changes us. Adversity is the crucible that melts down the old us.

Adversity is the hammer that shapes the new us. See, if you unconsciously or consciously or just trying to figure out, how do I get through it? I just got to get through it. Or how do I avoid it? Or how do I arrange my life so I never have to face it?

How do I stay comfortable? I read a quote in my research by someone said, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. That's where life begins. And yet most of us spend all of our energy, okay, how do I create this world where, you know, security here, security here, this here, this here, every relationship, control this, do that. See adversity is normal, it's expected, it's purposeful, and it's powerful. Peter would write after being persecuted in chapter five, verse 10, after you have suffered for a little, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself confirm, perfect, strengthen, and establish you. See it's not only purposeful, God wants to transform your life through adversity.

But it's powerful. You meet someone that has confidence and character. You meet people that have been married for a long time and there's a richness to their relationship.

You meet people that have been through hard times and love deeply. I will tell you what, they've suffered much. They didn't opt out, they didn't give up. An awful lot of marriages that stopped at five or seven or eleven or often 20, 25 years when the empty nest hits, God had this awesome golden years and great plan for them. They opted out, it got hard. Well, he just cares about the kids.

All he cared about was his career. I don't feel loved anymore. I went on Facebook and I found a friend from high school. Good luck, sweetie.

Good luck, hunkaroo. It ain't what it was and you aren't what you were and what you're looking for is identity and escape clause. There's difficult, painful things that you must overcome in every season. In seasons of singleness, of early marriage, of with kids or without kids or with infertility or in jobs and God wants to use every single one of them as you don't bail out to confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

And the kind of people that you rub up against that you think someday I'd like to be like him, someday I'd like to be like her. I will tell you what, they just hung tough. They trusted God. Finally, it's temporary. This is good news. I mean, this is a man who was beaten three times within an inch of his life. This is a man that took the 39 lashes.

This is a guy that writes all these letters about joy from prison, right? This is the apostle Paul. And you say, Paul, what kind of perspective did you have?

How did you get your arms around this? He says, therefore we do not lose heart though our outward man is decaying or we lose our house or lose our job or someone walks out on us or you're not married. Yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. While we look at the things which are seen but not at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal. You get it?

See what he's saying? See at some point in time you either believe that the now is all there is and you'll manipulate and maneuver and try to do life inside just the now and it doesn't work out for anyone. For you understand there's a far, far bigger eternal picture and you'll live in the now in light of the forever and that's why people can have joy.

Not always happy with happy circumstances but joy in the midst of very difficult things. Sometimes when I'm preparing and working through things and by the way I've learned so much. I mean the last few weeks of studying I've just learned a bunch and I don't know about you but there's a lot of verses here and if you look at the next page there's even more verses so lighten up I'm not going to try and cover it all.

I'm tempted I mean I want to but I won't. But sometimes I just stop and I say God there's so many verses would you help me take everything that I'm learning and maybe put it in one sentence. Maybe just one sentence so I could get my arms around it. Because what I've given you all so far some of you I'm watching your eyes and you know the spirit of God is oh yeah you know what I need. A little tipping point of inspiration that says I need to look at adversity differently.

It's going to last a few hours through this afternoon and I will tell you it will not compete with your emails tomorrow morning. The only way that you'll think biblically and not have all those lies is if some of you say you know something okay I don't think of adversity as being normal expected purposeful powerful or temporary. I'm going to write adversity is normal and then I'm going to open my bible and then I'm going to write on a card or three by five card that verse out and then I'm going to read that at night.

I'm not even going to try and memorize it and I'm going to pray it back to God and I'm going to do that for all five of those and I'll have five cards and I'll tell you do that for two or three weeks and you come back and talk to me. You'll start filtering everything that goes through your world completely differently because instead of oh this is unfair and what a bummer I guess I'm a failure and am I being punished. You know you'll start thinking this is normal it's hard but it's normal it's purposeful then you'll start thinking so I wonder what God wants to do. I guess if if I'm to endure it it produces proven character in other words as I endure instead of God changing out there he changes me I'm actually becoming more patient I'm becoming more loving I'm becoming more kind wow that gives me hope and as that gives me hope oh the spirit of God is really real I'm not playing this game of trying hard to be a good Christian.

This is supernatural wow thank you God. Here's how I want to think about adversity the rest of my life. Adversity is the uninvited unwanted friend in the hands of an all knowing God.

See don't get me wrong he's uninvited and he's unwanted so I don't like it I'm gonna be honest about that but he's a friend. Adversity is not your enemy. In the hands of an all knowing God whose purpose is to wean us of our self dependency and pride usher us into deeper intimacy with Jesus and redirect our paths to ensure our greatest good and his greatest glory and he does that as we learn to trust him. All of this ends up being about faith as we learn to trust God's character and God's word in all things for all things and through all things and so I'm either gonna look at and filter this way or this is an unwanted friend entering my life right now and doesn't mean other people haven't sinned doesn't mean other people haven't messed up doesn't mean that sometimes I bring it on myself but when I'm in the midst of it I can either oh what did I do what did I do what did I do or I can say okay this is where I'm at I've asked God to forgive me he's forgiven me but here's my situation and all knowing God in the midst of my pain is gonna wean me from my pride and I'm gonna own this in my self dependency and as I like Jesus with loud cries and tears cry out to him he's gonna develop an intimacy with him probably deeper than I've ever had before and here's the amazing thing you think adversity is so bad if you would look in the rear view mirror of your life often it was adversity that was oh I broke up with that girl wow I'm married to this other one for like thirty two years it's been really good I'm sure glad I had a little adversity there or I was gonna go this way and I was gonna do this job and I was gonna major in this and then adversity oh I didn't get accepted oh it was terrible and oh so I took this job and oh my I would have never chosen it for myself right couldn't we tell stories like that couldn't adversity be one of the kindest best things you know why cuz God wants what's best for you not what you want if you got everything you want you'd have a miserable life cuz you don't know what's best for you you just know what everyone says is best for you well let's talk now about the journey that we're gonna go on and I'll just give you a little overview of our friend Nehemiah and he is one of my heroes it's one of my heroes one cuz I didn't grow up as a Christian and second because he's not a religious guy what I mean by that you know every time someone shows up and they're a prophet or they're a priest or they're a preacher I don't know about you but I feel like well I mean they must get extra grace I'm sure they do we do but whenever I find like a regular guy making a big difference you know like a business guy or just a regular lady or a servant girl and God changes the world through them it gives me just a lot of hope like maybe this is for all of us regular people and so what I did is I took Nehemiah and I said we need to learn to handle adversity the way Nehemiah does and what I've laid out is a chart that I've been studying and what I want you to observe is that the adversity in his life comes for five different reasons I mean in chapter four terrible things happen because he obeys in chapter five terrible things happen because other people disobey in chapter six terrible difficult things happen because he has the courage to lead and he gets attacked there's spiritual warfare in chapter seven there's just negative circumstances no one did anything wrong they just don't have any people don't have any money and they can't do it then what are we going to do and then in chapter eight the big problem is you know what because the nation disobeyed God's discipline came in and they find their self in a situation and then you notice that I said here's Nehemiah's response to each one of those I put that in your chart and then just for fun I put our typical response so that you could compare them and then you'll notice that I put a New Testament parallel each one of these things they're at an adversity in his life there's a New Testament very specific parallel of what will happen in our lives but the theme the theme of all of them if you go down through the chart is the timeless truth I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength that's the timeless truth but that's true of your adversity I don't know what you're going through God does I don't know what you're feeling but I've had those feelings Jesus had those feelings he wanted to give up he wanted to opt out he wanted to quit in fact he even asked the father if he could quit remember his very last prayer and this is a loose translation but it would went something like this if there's a plan B up there that we didn't think about let's go with that right now because I don't want to be separated from you and I don't want to go through that suffering nevertheless not my will but yours you're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and we'll get back to his message in just a minute but first our heart is for you to deepen your connection to God as you study his word with us and another way we're supporting you in that is through our free resource called Daily Discipleship with Chip let me encourage you to stick around after this message to learn more about it and how you can sign up today okay here again is Chip to finish his talk what what's it what's he saying I'm gonna press ahead what he says to the father is in the power of the Holy Spirit I can make it through anything with your help and strength I came across a little motto if you will that that has really helped me in fact I injured something and so I haven't been able to work out and my history has been I like to work out and so I've never had much problem being motivated but I got injured and so I've not done it for a while like I want to and now maybe some of you can identify I'm trying to get back with it and like my motivation is like gone you know I'm going to I'm going to and then I don't do it I'm going to I'm going to and I don't do it I'm sure do any of you have these issues like with food okay you know I'm going and I just and so finally I decided I'll do it first thing I'm going to roll out of bed and you know whether it's five or five thirty or a little before I'm going to do it first I mean the other morning I'm just like I did so you know how when you start I cook out four days in a row you know way to go and and then this is this is the second week and I've missed a couple days and for really good reasons that I made excuses about and so this was like you know you know how you feel like I'm either going to stay on track or I'm going to just plummet again and I'm laying in bed and like you know it's even earlier than normal and I'm thinking Lord I don't want to do that and then I still remember it because I'm studying all this right I always get advanced because I studied this before I give it to you and I remember laying in bed thinking I just can't get up and this came to my mind I can't but you can and I just I just I'm laying in bed I just prayed father father because some specific disciplines there is there's a domino effect in other areas of your life when I'm disciplined here my prayer life's more disciplined when I'm disciplined here my eating is more disciplined when I'm disciplined here my tongue is more disciplined so this wasn't just trying to get in shape I realized my will was getting weak in terms of obedience and so I laid in bed I said okay Lord Jesus I can't but you can through me will you give me the grace I'm going to put my foot on the ground and I'm going to go put on my shoes and I did and it worked out and it was just for many of you that's I can't stand this marriage another day I can't but you can I can't handle this depression one more day I can't but you can I can't stand being single one more day I can't but you can I can't go on without the job or without I can't and so here here's what I like it's a little motto I came across it says I can't he never said I could he can he always said he would if you don't get anything you know that takes all the truth and it bundles it for you in a way that I think is sort of a to-go package it'll really help you if you if you if you apply that and remember that it'll really help you he said I can't he Jesus never said I could he can he always said he would the last portion is an assignment I'm not going to go through the passages but here here's what I need you got to understand if you do not discern the source or sources because often there there are more than one if you do not biblically clearly Holy Spirit led discern the source of your adversity the chances are you will respond in a way that will hinder your growth and endurance instead of grow through it and so what I've done at the very bottom of the page as I've given you there may be more but these are at least the five major causes of adversity in believers lives and then I've get I'm gonna fill in the response and again there's some of you that if you're going through a hard time I will tell you you'll run to here you don't get strength from God here and other people talk you get strength from God when your nose gets in God's Word with a heart that's hurting and says oh God help me and he'll speak to you David would say if your word had not been my delight I would have perished in my affliction you don't get strength listen to people you get strength when the Word of God fresh off the page of the Holy Spirit does something in your heart and it gives you the strength to persevere physical exhaustion is one reason for adversity the stories of Elijah the response is rest when I get physically exhausted I often assume I've sinned I asked God to explore my heart what have I done wrong and usually a good friend or my wife says Chip you did 11 messages in four days you did two videos and wrote a chapter of a book and met with four people what part of being tired don't you understand just go to bed eat a good meal don't evaluate the second reason is consequences of sin you repent you blow it I blow it you got a problem you got a problem because God won't be mocked when I sin and you sin it reaps corruption problems in my life I need to repent third cause is spiritual warfare there's times where there's actual demonic influence that often comes in these other times but is trying to thwart God's purpose in your life you have to fight you don't rest and you don't run the fourth opportunity I guess I would call it that is God's discipline there's times where he's preparing you for the next big season of fruit it's much like Jesus talked about where he does pruning and what you need to do there is you need to submit there's time so come into your life and say everyone else it's okay for them to do I don't want you to do this thing anymore or I want you to do this thing you know why does I he'll say because I said so and I'm your father he's he's preparing you he's pruning you need to hear his voice and submit and finally the last is negative circumstances and you endure actually you joyfully endure you're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and the message you just heard facing adversity is from our series keep pressing ahead Chip will join us in studio to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute the bible teaches that followers of Jesus are more than conquerors but when we're really suffering or struggling with something that idea can sound like religious mumbo jumbo now in this series Chip's going to change our perspective toward hardship by examining the life of Nehemiah discover where adversity comes from and what we can do when our most challenging circumstances threaten to pull us under if you've missed any part of Chip's teaching catch up anytime on the Chip Ingram app well I'm joined in studio now by Chip and Chip you know every week we receive prayer requests from listeners who feel like life's beating them down no matter how hard they sincerely try to live for Jesus something happens they get sick get laid off lose a loved one if you would talk to those listening who are really struggling right now well first of all you are not alone we all have seasons like that and I don't mean to minimize it I just want you to know that you are not alone and the reason that it's so common is because yes it is a fallen world and yes every single one of us followers of Jesus have spiritual opposition satan would like nothing more than to knock you off your feet make you feel unimportant and push you inward instead of upward and toward God and when those attacks come we are called and commanded to stand firm in his faithfulness and in the armor that he's provided but the sad fact is many Christians have no idea how to do that and so what we've developed is a brand new daily discipleship with Chip and it's called the invisible war through this study we'll open our bibles to Ephesians chapter 6 we'll learn what spiritual warfare is who satan is what power he has what power he doesn't have and tools to help you live victoriously each and every day and for those of you that are new to daily discipleship this is a free video resource where you and I can study God's word together I'll never talk for more than 10 minutes and then I will ask you for 10 minutes with a brief study guide and here's the thing you're going to learn to study the scriptures to hear God's voice this is not a Bible study I'm going to mentor you one on one two hundred and thirty four thousand people have gone through daily discipleships with me and they all say basically the same thing I'm now hearing God I understand the Bible I'm growing on my own and that's our hearts desire for you so let me encourage you make the decision today sign up for the daily discipleship we're in the midst of a spiritual battle God has given us the victory and I want to show you how to experience it thanks Chip well I can't encourage you enough to sign up for this new daily discipleship the invisible war by going to daily discipleship dot com as you and Chip study Ephesians chapter 6 you'll learn how to defend yourself and fight back in this unseen battle again to sign up for this brand new daily discipleship visit daily discipleship dot com app listeners tap discipleship we'll hear now is Chip with a few final thoughts from today's message I don't know what's going on in your life but I'll tell you one thing I wish I could sit down right now at a little coffee shop look you right in the eye and say tell me where are you struggling what's where you're hurting what's the really big issue that's facing you and when we begin to identify that adversity that I think the very next thing I would say is is not just consider it all joy you know we ended the program with the with that classic James chapter one you know consider it all joy when you encounter various trials knowing knowing by experience that the testing of your faith is going to produce endurance and that you let endurance have its perfecting or maturing result so that you don't lack anything I mean I think we get the idea that we need to not give in not give up hang in there God's going to work but here's what I've noticed if you don't identify why you have the adversity what's the cause of adversity your response may not be in keeping with God's purposes for your life and so often you know if let me just review some of the causes of adversity physical exhaustion I mean you know you've got Elijah there he is just he's wiped out he doesn't need to pray more he needs to sleep he needs to eat he needs to rest or the second consequences of sin you know I don't need to endure I need to repent I mean there's times where I've just done things that are wrong or I've said things that are wrong and things are going really south well I don't need to endure I need to go apologize that person I need to tell God I'm sorry I need to do a 180 you get what I'm saying so the causes were physical exhaustion the consequences of sin the third one here spiritual warfare could it be I mean obviously there's not a demon behind every bush but could it be that you're doing exactly what God wants you to do you've taken steps in your marriage or you're breaking an addiction or I mean you are doing what God wants you to do and the enemy is pushing back strong and the adversity really isn't something bad it's the evidence that you're exactly on the right track ask God he'll show you Lord will you show me the cause of my adversity or at other times you know you may find yourself in a season of real fruitfulness and you go through and say hey I'm not tired I've searched my heart you know I don't think there's sin I don't think it's spiritual warfare you know there are times when God's pruning you you haven't done anything wrong you're one of his special daughters his special sons and he's just going to do some disciplining to bring a new level of dependency in your heart and your life that will produce more fruit than you ever imagined thanks chip and in case you missed some of the points chip just reviewed they're pulled straight from his message notes which is a tool available for every program so let me encourage you to get this resource before you listen to us again chips notes include his outline the scripture he references and fill ins to help you remember what you're learning they'll really help you get the most out of every program chips message notes are a quick download at Living on the Edge org under the broadcasts tab app listeners tap fill in notes well until next time this is steve druy saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-18 05:30:51 / 2023-10-18 05:41:16 / 10

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