Saturday, October 08, 2005

Handling Adversity - Gaining the Victory: Patience, winning through weakness

Gaining the Victory
Patience – winning through weakness

Through the first half of the class material we’ve considered a great deal of scripture as we sought answers to some basic questions. It has been more fact based learning than application. This marks the transition to a larger emphasis on application of these principles as Christians. We will consider some specific examples of characters found in the Bible towards the end of the study but, this does not mean that we won’t look at examples before then. It is through example and the characters of the Bible that we can find our greatest lessons, hope, and strength.

Coming back to a key context we’ve examined several times in James 1, he begins the text by saying:

Jam 1:2 My brothers count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
Jam 1:3 knowing that the proving of your faith works patience.
Jam 1:4 But let patience have its perfective work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

It’s tough to remember to be patient in trying circumstances but as James points out, it is the key to victory. As we’ve established, the victory the Christian seeks is a home in Heaven with God. But how do we get there? We must go through the path that James establishes for us: trials, proven faith, and patience in order that we may be perfected and complete. Patience is the key to many things in life.

But is our victory something that we earn? That premise is thoroughly dealt with by Paul in the book of Romans with the clear answer that God owes us nothing but has provided grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is our working faith in God to deliver us that gains the victory. This victory is not something that is to go unnoticed either. Recalling the context of John 1, in speaking of the Word it says that the light shown in the darkness but it did not comprehend it and then further, that the light was the light of men. Do people see us as gaining the victory through our faith in our strength or our weakness? Charles Stanley in his book “How to Handle Adversity” uses the example of the death of Lazarus and the actions of Jesus as a case of how weakness allows God’s glory and victory to be seen clearly and boldly.

It is in times of weakness that we need patience in God the most. We must remember passages such as Romans 8:28, “all things work together for good for them that server God.” The good will arrive but it is on God’s schedule not ours. It is in weakness that our faith in God and his ability to work good in our lives is either proven or fails. This doesn’t mean that we sit back and do nothing but that we do our part and leave the rest to God. It is our weakness that strips back any false ideas that we can do it on our own and it is equally evident to those around that it is God gaining the victory through us. Remember, God wants us in Heaven with Him and He is just and righteous to know what we need and when we need it in order to get us there if we do our part.


1. Joy

2. Patience

3. Prove

4. Faith

5. Perfect


1. Read through the context of John 11 and the death of Lazarus.
a. Who are the characters besides Jesus that are noted?

b. What are their responses at various points in the story?

c. What is Jesus response in return?

d. What does he explain as why events occurred the way they did?

2. Consider the story of David and Goliath. What can be learned about the perceived weakness of David and the victory delivered on the battlefield?

3. Consider the story of the Israelites taking of Jericho. What did they do in order to defeat the city and what does it say about the victory achieved?

4. Consider the story of Gideon in Judges 6,7. How was the victory delivered and why?

5. What is said about God and displaying His glory. How is it achieved? What are some of the reasons given as to why it is done in a particular way?

6. Thought question. The Old Testament contains numerous prophesies about Jesus. Many of them describe the suffering and anguish that he would endure. Why did Jesus have to suffer, why is it so central to be part of prophesy, how did he achieve it, and what did his sufferings accomplish?