Welcome to our online Bible study. My goal here tonight is to give you the scriptures along with some points for you to consider. As always, please take some time to pray first and ask God to clear your hearts and minds from whatever you may have dealt with today so that you can focus on what we will talking about here. Also, get your Bible close by because you will need it.
Before I begin this lesson I want to say if there are any visual problems with the lesson forgive me now. I needed to start his lesson using another program instead of typing it directly on the website. With that out of the way let's get started. This lesson will be very practical for a reason. We will be moving into other areas and topics but we needed to have a practical lesson in order to get there. Go to 1 Peter 5:6-7 as it will serve as the backdrop here.
We will be talking about discovering better ways to handle adversity in life. It is important as we have this lesson to remember he need to cast all of your cares on Jesus. I cannot emphasize that enough here. You will need to apply what verse 6 says which is to humble yourself. Yes, you may have been done wrong and you may be the one who's right but you need to humble yourself first. Now let's narrow things down a bit here for a better focus on the issue.
When dealing with people you can narrow it down to a few areas in your life. These are in no particular order by any means. It is simply a list to think about. You have your immediate or household family, blood related family, in-laws if you're married, church, work, friends, and neighbors. When you think about it you realize most of the things you do in life involve interactions with people. This is not a bad thing and the reality is life is better when you have people to share special moments with. You can wake up and wish yourself happy birthday but it brings a smile to your face when you hear it from others throughout the day.
As a result of being around people so much in our lives it only makes sense that there will be problems time to time. Sometimes the problem is how others are. Sometimes it's how you perceive things. This lesson will hopefully give you something to think about and lessen the stress in your life. It is a fact of life you will disagree with people. Sometimes you even argue with them. If you think about it an argument is a result of an unresolved disagreement. When there is no solution and no one stops it can escalate to an argument.
All arguments are not bad. Sometimes they are needed for all parties to truly see the views of one another. Married couples argue from time to time but it helps keep them on the same page. Best friends argue at times but it helps remind them their different in certain ways. Coworkers argue and yet they come back together and get the job done. Teammates argue and yet play together to win. We have rain on the way today. Some will see the skies as cloudy and others will see it as gray. Who's right and who's wrong? We see things differently is my point here.
Now here's where we hit some turbulence for a moment. Take something about someone that absolutely gets on your nerves. Now ask yourself a serious question. What does your anger do to solve it? Is your anger nothing more than more gasoline being thrown on the fire? Is your anger causing the flames to jump even higher? Now consider this point. Your calmness or peace is like a fire extinguisher. It helps to quench the flames not make them worse. Proverbs 15:1 says a soft answer turns away wrath. Give that some thought.
Remember when I said to remember your need for humility? Life is not always about how right you are. Sometimes even when you are right you must shoulder the burden for the greater good. You have to wise is which battles you choose to fight. There is nothing worse than fighting for something that cannot change. We all have a will. If you're honest with yourself you will admit there are areas in your life that even God has to be patient about. You don't simply say yes to everything. As grown as you may be in the spirit you still kick and scream every now and then.
Now for the tough part. How or why do you have an expectation for others to do something at the same time you're still falling short in God? There are things you are still a work in progress on and you expect God to grant you grace. Yet, others cannot receive mercy from you. Mercy says you deserve a punishment but a pardon is given. You can't expect perfection from others when you already know it's not in you. You can't control what others do. Remember when nobody could tell you anything? Remember when you were quick to say how grown you are and how you can make your own choices?
People can frustrate you. Sometimes it is unintentional. They don't mean to do so and you may not always know how much it bothers them knowing they're bothering you. Don't go by what you see. People will look like everything is fine outside while they cry nonstop inside. The next thing you need to consider is that some people are on an assignment to frustrate not just you but your purpose. The question is are you letting them win? Are you raising their hands in victory without even knowing it?
You may think you need to step up your counter attack. You may say you're not going to take it anymore. What if that's the very trap the enemy has for you? Have you considered how far away from God you can get when you don't just wait on Him to fix things? That one coworker on your job who doesn't like you? What if that's God's way of making sure you don't get too comfortable and lazy? That family member who you just don't get along with? What if God is simply showing you how much they need prayer?
Let's go further here. What if you're so entrenched by what "you" see until you can't even see what God is trying to show you? What if the confusion and conflict exists because you won't pray about it or for the person? Let's be honest right now. When you cut someone off you do just that but what if God isn't finished with them yet? What if you're the only person who will pray? Perhaps you forgot about how many people wrote you off for ever doing anything good. Maybe you forgot how you really were before you met Jesus. Did He change you? Why can't He do that with others?
You see the pattern here. You're not in control of the actions of others. You're in control of your perspective and response. You may not like the cold but you realize the only way to deal with it is to bundle up. Prayer is your way of bundling up. Let's all get in this boat together. People disappoint and make me mad too. I don't always want to stay calm and I surely don't always like it when I "have" to be silent. Sometimes I have another side of a good peace of mind and it's called a good piece of my mind. Read that again and you'll get it clearly.
We always say we are brought with a price. We don't belong to ourselves. God is in total control of us. He knows more than we do. He sits high while we sit low. Our thoughts are not His thoughts. The list goes on. We know all of the right things when everything is going our way. However, when we face opposition or adversity we fall apart. These things ought not to be. Your strength is built with resistance. Your stamina is built through endurance. What a wonderful life it would be if we could all get along but you may as well get used to things not being that way.
Like all you reading this I know people that I want to see do better. Some of them share my same bloodline. Some of them I know like family. Some of them are great in a lot of areas and yet the flaws tend to stick out the most. That's when our perspective comes in to play. We have to ask how are we seeing things. Things are not always what they appear to be but we insist what we see is what it is. Is that really so with you or do you realize sometimes you can look one way and feel a completely different way?
I don't like Chinese food enough to go to a buffet. I always insisted I would never do that. Someone had a graduation celebration at one and because they are like family I took one for the team. I said I was going to drink some sweet tea and have some dessert. My wife convinced me to just go to the buffet and see and if nothing else to just walk go with her while she fixed her plate. I returned to my seat with two full plates of food. When I finished those I got two more plates. My perspective was wrong and if I didn't give it a chance I would've missed out on some good food!
When God looked at us before we were saved He saw what we could be. When He looks at us now He still sees room for improvement. Yet, He still right there for us. He hasn't given up on us. He hasn't said He's done with us. Believe me when I say we couldn't survive if He quit on us. I'm not telling you to be tolerant or accept the foolishness of others. There are times when you have to know how and when to separate yourself from them. People can drag you down just by their actions. You stay awoke praying while they sleep like a baby.
Recognize and learn what you have control over. Even when it comes to your child there is a point in which you need to realize when that bump on the head is needed. You testify today about how your setbacks have blessed you. You recount what you've learned from your failures. You say how much stronger you are after your falls. You look around and you hear others with the same testimony. Are we all crazy or wrong? No. We learn as we go. As parents we don't want our children to fail even when they're grown. We want them to win. However, our time on the field is over. We are in the stands not in the game. It's our time to pray them through their struggles.
What is the ultimate point this week? Ask yourself a powerful question. How far along would you be if you could quit worrying about the actions of someone else? How much peace would you have if you could do so? I'm absolutely sure the Bible says we are to pray for one another. I'm also absolutely sure nothing in it says we are to lord over others and have ultimate control over their thoughts and actions. Prayer is your key. You learn over time that you can win more battles in prayer versus talking. I've been praying about something for months and heard it confirmed today. We have to trust the work of Jesus on the cross not our own selves. We have to believe for that finished work to be done in others around us.
When you go to work tomorrow pray for peace before you walk in the door. When you have to deal with loved ones that frustrate you pray for peace before and when you get around them. God will give a calmness to handle things if you let Him do so. You don't have more than you can bear. You have to learn how to bear it is the problem. You're not surrounded by enemies. You're surrounded by people who will force you to trust God. At the end of the day you shouldn't be mad with anyone who has caused you to have to pray. Instead, you should be sending them a thank you card because they drove you to God!!
Be blessed and enjoy this message. Stop worrying about what others are doing or saying about you. Pray more and complain less. Take it to God in prayer. Humble yourself because the foolishness you see in others could've easily been you. Take those cares and give them to Jesus. After you do that, leave them there and let Him worry about how it will get fixed. When my wife buys something that needs to be put together she puts somewhere I know about and goes on about her way. She doesn't have to see if it will be put together. She knows it will she just needs to know when it's finished. If you do that with God it bless you!
God Bless You,
Bishop C. Lennon