Saturday, September 24, 2005

Handling Adversity - Sources of Suffering: Temptation, Persecution, and Sin

Sources of Suffering
Temptation, Persecution, and Sin

These three things, temptation, persecution, and sin, are all the tools of Satan as he seeks to destroy us. Peter gives a very sobering warning about Satan in his words

1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

They all seek to inflict pain, anguish, and sorrow on us in order to deter us from serving God. Recalling the figure of the athlete in training sometimes they are going to experience great hardship from injury, accident, or illness. They don’t intend to hurt themselves but it is a risk of training, or sometimes just being in the wrong place. After receiving attention for their injury, they have a choice before them: endure and overcome or turn away and stop all together. We read of athletes that overcome extreme injury or disease by a lot of effort, perseverance, mental toughness, and good medical care. But it is a choice that they make to take that path in order to continue to pursue their original goal.

The simple truth of life is that Satan will throw everything he can at us to get us to stop pursuing our goal of Heaven and being with God. Temptations are those things placed in our way that seek to take us off the path. Persecution is focused on the Christian that is living righteously because there are people that hate everything that is good and pure in Christ. Sin is the great weapon of Satan that separates us from God. We are going to sin as we can read in Romans 3:23 but God has also provided the way back as can be seen in the verse following, Romans 3:24.

We started by seeking Biblical answers to our “Why….” questions and we’ve seen some of the broader answers as to what is going on in our lives. However, it at this point that we begin seeing that the real objective in handling these things is not having a specific answer but in what we choose to do about them. We need to be prepared to recognize them and already know in our minds what action we must take to remain on our path to the goal, Heaven.


1) Persecution

2) Temptation

3) Sin

4) Forgiveness


1) Re-read the context of James 1:12-15 about the process of temptation. When can it be stopped? And what is required of us individually in order to stop it? Paul says some things about this in his letters to back this up.

2) Persecution is a specific form of temptation to get the Christian to stop. What did Jesus tell his disciples about persecution?

3) Find other cases of persecution in the OT or NT. What is revealed about the individuals enduring the persecution and why were they able to endure?

4) What does God provide for Christians in order to endure persecution? This is a very broad question with many different aspects of Christian life.

5) What if we’re not experiencing persecution? What can that say about our life as a Christian?

6) What does James say about sin and death in James 1:15? What type of death is this and why is it so bad?

7) Is it possible for the Christian to give up and be lost spiritually? Provide examples.

8) What is said about the Christian that gives up and turns away? What are some of the figures used in scripture?

9) How can someone be forgiven by God but still suffer the consequence of the sin?